Briefly, El Sistema is an incredible network of hundreds of orchestras formed within most of Venezuela’s towns and villages. Initially a modest program designed to expose rural children to the wonders of music, the system has become one of the most important and beautiful social phenomena in modern history. Currently, 250,000 children attend its music schools around the country, 90% of them from poor socio-economic backgrounds.

The principles are simple. Children as young as two are given an instrument as soon as they can hold it. Tuition, outings, music and, where necessary, social support are all furnished free of charge in return for the child’s agreement to play in one of the sistema’s ensembles. Lessons are in groups. Children who have mastered a scale or two are delegated to teach younger children. Peer support is fundamental. And orchestral playing is part of the program from the beginning. Six days a week, four hours a day, the children play music together in one of 90 music schools, or núcleos, around the country.

For more information on this phenomenom, please visit the El Sistema web site. And for those of you who would like to find out even more, The Leading Note music store is proud to be the Canadian distributor for the Tocar y Luchar DVD. All proceeds from the DVD sales will be donated to The Leading Note Foundation Orkidstra Youth Music Program.

The following is a listing of Canadian programs and a few links to American and International Sistema-inspired programs. Please note that there are Sistema-inspired programs throughout the world, and this list is just a select few:

Canadian Programs American Programs       International Programs
Iqaluit Fiddle Club El Sistema USA European Mozart Ways
Saint James Music Academy   Sistema England
Sistema Aeolian   Sistema Italy
Sistema New Brunswick    
Sistema Toronto    
Sistema Viva    
Sistema Winnipeg    


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