The author of the book went to visit El Sistema’s show window: Montalban.
The facility had the air of a correctional facility. He was impressed after the performance but thought there was more to be analyzed
El Sistema is the Venezuelan state foundation for the national system of youth and children’s orchestras; a program of the Venezuelan state devoted to the pedagogical, occupational, and ethical foundation of the children
The program began in 1975 and has around 350000 participants
They put emphasis on collective learning through orchestral practice and an intensive schedule
The system includes improvements in academic achievements and in the psychological development of children and young people. Its social benefits include reducing the school dropout rate and the rate of youth violence
The loans are usually made after performances and not after explaining the system
Jose Antonio Abreu is famous for using the youth orchestra to persuade politiciansused to ambush them with a performance
The author tries to use his head and not his heart. El Sistema lacks support from rigorous objective research and its extraordinary boom makes in depth critical scrutiny more important than ever. Issues like inclusion and social justice are complex and need to be considered carefully
Does the program deliver on its promises? Is an orchestra really a model for a better society?
It is hard to collect info in el Sistema. It is a state within the state and external monitoring and evaluation are minimal
To criticize the program is career suicide. The program’s financial resources and monopolization of institutionalized music make it hard.
Foreigners make trips to Venezuela and with the lack of long-term exposure to everyday activities, and Spanish knowledge are impressed
They overlook significant drawbacks and contradictions. All students say basically the same thing after asked about el Sistema: playing in an orchestra teaches us responsibility confidence and discipline. We learn to work together in the orchestra. It’s like a family heremight be sincere but not really personal
Does musical harmony engender social harmony? Music making may be social and participatory but it is also riven by issues of power, conflict and competition
Participant’s opinions are overshadowed by those in charge and music’s role is exaggerated via sweeping statements about its power.
Most of the critics for el Sistema envisions music education as a model for a society yet to come not one that’s already disappearing
They don’t genuine work on values and principles with the children but rather work them to the bone for a week before some conductor from oversees comes in and is blown away by the racket
There is corruption, maladministration, discrimination, nepotism, favoritism, bullying, and poor pay and working conditions
Children enjoy themselves but they also enjoy fast food. Is it really good?
The Orchestra: Theory and Practice
El Sistema is based on the idea of the orchestra as a model and school of social life and a miniature harmonious society
The orchestra has been said to be a model for an ideal global societythe way you behave in an orchestra is the perfect way to behave in society
Those who make those assumptions are either conductors or principals
In an orchestra somebody is always telling you what to do, depending on what the need and what they think. You’re never able to rise up
There are many studies of the benefits of music education in general but very few consider the specific example of a youth orchestra
They place total authority in the hands of a single person. They are like factory workers repeating the same pieces year after year
Orchestral musicians often enjoy chamber music because it gives them more opportunities of self-expression
Orchestras are widely perceived as autocratic hierarchical structures reproducing values of the European societies from which they emerged.