What is El Sistema?

El Sistema began in Venezuela about 40 years ago through the vision of Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu. His goal was to use music, his passion, to change the lives of young people in his country. What began with only 11 young people playing music together in 1976 now serves over half a million young people in Venezuela, and has change the life trajectories for many people now performing around the globe, including Los Angeles Philharmonic’s artistic director, Gustavo Dudamel.

Dr. Abreu’s idea was through the study of music and the discipline required to be an excellent musician, those involved in the program would apply the skills learned in music to their everyday lives. The ensemble, teamwork, listening skills, and many other necessities of music education can then transfer to work as an engineer, politician, teacher, or other skilled work, creating a fundamental change in the community. You can learn more about El Sistema in this essay by Eric Booth, or by watching the video below.