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ERIC Number: EJ1019862
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0027-4321
Another Perspective: El Sistema--A Perspective for North American Music Educators
Tunstall, Tricia
Music Educators Journal, v100 n1 p69-71 Sep 2013
Herein, Tricia Tunstall presents a critique of the article by Melissa Lesniak published in the December 2012 "Music Educators Journal," and offers a new perspective on the Venezuelan youth orchestra program known as "El Sistema." The program, which began in Caracas thirty-eight years ago, is dedicated to changing the lives of Venezuelan children through intensive immersion in collaborative, ambitious, and exuberant ensemble playing and singing. Virtually unknown outside of Venezuela until the past decade, "El Sistema" has come to international attention through the world tours of its premiere youth symphony, the Simon Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, led by its charismatic young conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who is also the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In the last three years, "El Sistema" has become a truly international movement, with "Sistema"-inspired programs forming across the United States and Canada, throughout Europe, and in many Asian countries. Tunstall asserts that Lesniak's article misses a number of central points about "El Sistema," and Lesniak's discussion of its relevance to the United States is compromised by automatic assumptions about the United States' learning culture and its capacity for change. Tunstall details each of these missed points and concludes that "El Sistema" programs can function beautifully within the existing ecosystem of music education for several reasons: First, they often reach children who would not otherwise experience any sort of music education. Second, their emphasis on ensemble, on process, and on joy is a welcome and much needed contribution to our understanding of what music can mean in children's lives. Perhaps most important, "El Sistema" has recreated music education as a sphere for learning in community--energetic, ambitious, cooperative, and joyful community. That is a vision that can enrich and recharge the work of all music educators.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States; Venezuela
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A