Author(s): Christine Witkowski
For the last 40 years, El Sistema, or 'the system', has changed the lives of many. Over a million Venezuelan children from many different socio-economic backgrounds have participated in the music education phenomenon. Consisting of over 400 music centres, ironically the essence of The System is that it is a non-system, insofar as there are no rigid rules of guidelines. Instead, The System is moulded and adapted by the practitioners in a way as to best serve their communities, based on a tried and tested philosophy. While the flexible nature of El Sistema is central to its original success, allowing it to be tailored to meet the varying needs of different communities, the lack of any clear-cut system can be daunting for those trying to understand, implement or develop a philosophy that Sir Simon Rattle has called 'the most important thing happening in the world in classical music'. The <b><i>El Sistema</i></b> book offers practical information for those seeking knowledge, inspiration or guidance for adapting El Sistema to widely divergent socio-economic settings. Designed as a collection of essays, it explores the voices and experiences of teachers, leaders, parents, and experts from related fields with the hope of inspiring actions, both large and small, to advance social change through music. Success.