Looking to the future

Exploring El Sistema - Fri, 2016-02-05 14:59
While much of the rest of the East Coast was busy shoveling out from the major snowstorm, twenty Sistema Fellows reunited for a weekend in Boston last month. This was an opportunity for us, all alumni of New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows Program, to share our individual experiences since the... Sistema Fellows Program

Breaking | Norwegian Air Announce New Violin-Friendly Cabin Policy

Cello Bello Blog - Thu, 2016-02-04 23:11

Reprinted from The Violin Channel February 4, 2016

Read this wonderful news from the Violin Channel and then go change.org and sign the petition insisting  that WestJet Airlines also adopt Industry standards for accommodating musical instruments. Together we can make a difference – Thank you!

Norwegian Air has today announced a new official cabin-baggage policy – allowing violins and violas to be brought onboard as hand luggage.

The policy change comes after an expose was posted on The Violin Channel on January 20th – which to date has received over 160,000 page views, and more than 400 comments, 3000 social media shares and 15,000 Facebook likes.

“We understand that sometimes you’ll want to bring your instrument with you onboard … if you’re traveling with a larger instrument, such as a violin or a viola, then you can bring this instead of a carry-on bag,” the new policy has officially stated.

“If your instrument’s bigger than 90cm x 35cm x 20cm and you’d like it to travel in the cabin, you must book a separate seat for this,” the new rules have outlined.

The social media furor erupted after an incident in Copenhagen on January 19th where Principal Second Violinist with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Ari Vilhjamsson was informed his violin, valued at over 200,000 EUR (US $220,000) ‘must without exception be stowed in the cargo’.

The Violin Channel’s October 2nd, 2014 coverage of Air Canada’s inconsistent viola policy received over 4000 social media shares, 200,000 page views and 33,000 Facebook likes – leading to the airline also promptly readdressing their stance.

Power to the people.

El Sistema for Choruses

Exploring El Sistema - Sat, 2016-01-30 22:29
The qualities central to the El Sistema way—including working in underserved communities, intense focus, high expectations, and joyful learning—are also key aspects of many children and youth choral programs that do not identify as "El Sistema-inspired"… But Grogan and other founders say that El Sistema-inspired choral programs are different in... Sistema Fellows Program

El Sistema: Music for Social Change

Exploring El Sistema - Sat, 2016-01-30 22:19
"This collection of essays, edited by Christine Witkowski [Sistema Fellow '10], offers practical information for those seeking knowledge, inspiration or guidance for adapting El Sistema to widely diverse settings, particularly within the USA. This book explores the voices and experiences of teachers, leaders, parents, and experts from related fields with... Sistema Fellows Program

Kidznotes 2015 annual report

Exploring El Sistema - Sat, 2016-01-30 22:10
"Since 2009, enrollment has grown dramatically from 60 to 330 children who participate, and next year we are poised to take Kidznotes [founded by Katie Wyatt, Sistema Fellow '10] to the next level. In the 2016-17 school year our goal is to serve 500 kids, expanding our enrollment by 200... Sistema Fellows Program

The Ensemble, February edition

Exploring El Sistema - Sat, 2016-01-30 21:58
The February edition of Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth's publication chronicling the emerging field of El Sistema-inspired activity in the US and beyond is found here. Sistema Fellows Program

Synchrony and Musicality Project

Exploring El Sistema - Sat, 2016-01-30 21:39
Jonathan Govias (Sistema Fellow '10) invites your participation in an El Sistema-related research project investigating the non-verbal interactions of chamber musicians. The study is comprised of of eighteen audio excerpts, none more than about a minute long, to rate on three different criteria. It takes no more than thirty minutes... Sistema Fellows Program

Fishbowl conversation photos

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2016-01-28 01:04
Photos by Alejandro Lazo Sistema Fellows Program

Sistema Fellows Program reunion

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2016-01-28 01:01
Photos by Alejandro Lazo Sistema Fellows Program

Exploring Colombia's Youth Music Initiatives

Avi Mehta's Blog - Sun, 2016-01-10 11:09
Prior to arriving in Colombia this past summer, I had numerous preconceived ideas of what to expect based on my previous trips to Venezuela. Given their proximity on the map, similar heritage, and testimonies by numerous visitors, I came away from my three-week trip realizing that Colombia was a country headed in a very different direction from its neighbor, both in their development of society and El Sistema.
            With tourism thriving and a rough history with drugs mostly in its past, each of the four cities I visited in Colombia were unique. I packed for weather ranging from 40—90 degrees as the changes in climate and landscape were as diverse as the Sistema-inspired programs I visited.  
My trip started in Medellin, a very large city bustling with traffic, mountainous views, perfect temperatures, and stunning properties. The youth instrumental programs in Medellin are run by an organization called La Red, which serves students in over 30 neighborhoods and schools throughout the city. Funded by the city government, the program serves both affluent and underserved areas—a unique concept in Medellin, where lots of effort has been placed on equalizing the playing field between residents with a varied levels of income. I was introduced to two schools in La Red by two of my former Boston colleagues, Rebecca Levi (Sistema Fellow ’10) and Claudia Garcia. When visiting the programs, we witnessed a less intense, but more creative approach to music making. Each program showcases a different type of ensemble, caters to all ages, and also provides instruction in music literacy. For instance, In Claudia’s nucleo, a theatre teacher taught a class on how to use their body’s to communicate and build trust within an ensemble. When visiting the wind ensemble in another part of the city, the ages of the students ranged from 12—22.
            After a quick vacation in the popular city of Cartagena, my next stop was Santa Marta, a warm, tropical, costal city on the Caribbean. Another former Boston colleague, Antonio Berdugo, hosted me as we spent our time hosting seminarios with students in Cajamag, a private organization that uses public funding to serve youth in the area. The music program is only a small branch of the organization, which leads to an insufficient quantity on resources, limiting their ability to grow artistically. This was a huge contrast to Venezuela’s national Sistema, which is able to offer more support and resources to their teachers, helping them  improve the musical level of their program. The students in Santa Marta, of course, were fantastic to work with and displayed enthusiasm and hospitality that made rehearsals in the intense heat totally enjoyable.
            The final leg of my trip was in Bogota, Colombia’s capital city situated at over 8,000ft, where the temperature stays in the 50’s year around. I had a wonderful time working with the musicians of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Batuta, the largest music for social change organization in the country. Given their flagship status, my first instinct was to compare their Metropolitan Youth Orchestra with the leading youth orchestras in Venezuela. However, given that the organization has branches in fewer cities, focuses more on fundamental musical training rather than orchestra training, and has been around for only just over 20 years, I realized that the leading “Sistema’s” in both countries are quite distinct. The lack of one governing organization throughout the country made it more difficult to achieve the standardized resources, which has led to so much artistic success in Venezuela. However, the more localized approach to building a Sistema in each city, rather than to form a national system has yielded some flexibility is allowing for each city to have numerous organizations create their own programs and customize their approach to each community.
            The difference in infrastructures in Colombia and Venezuela was certainly unexpected at first. While Venezuela has clearly invested much of its resources into developing a national system of youth orchestras that serves as many youth as possible, Colombia had a feel much closer to that of the United States and Europe--separate organizations created localized programs without much outside leadership. The clear commonality between the two South American countries was the children, who were eager, passionate, and relentless in their pursuit of music education, which instilled the joy that will motivate me to plan my next trip to South America soon. 
 
For a video containing photos, rehearsal footage, and student testimonies from my trip to Colombia, please see the video below!
 
http://www.redmusicamedellin.org/
http://www.cajamag.com.co/#/
http://www.fundacionbatuta.org/

Briefly on Senior Year

Penguin - Mon, 2015-11-02 16:58
by ELIZABETH WENDT 4th Year – BM Voice     Another year full of excitement is budding here at NEC. For me, this year is unlike any other…It’s my senior year! I honestly thought that this day would never come – that it would be forever before I would have to face the idea of moving […]

The NEC Team

Penguin - Mon, 2015-11-02 16:48
by ALEX STENING 2nd Year – MM French Horn     For those of you returning to Boston and NEC, welcome back! And for those who are starting their first year, welcome to the team! Last year, I remember sitting in Jordan Hall with the pipe organ towering above and being surrounded by a sea of students […]

Composers in the Kitchen

Penguin - Mon, 2015-11-02 16:40
By SARAH ATWOOD 2nd Year – MM Violin       Rumor has it that Niccolo Paganini was a virtuoso in the kitchen, as well as onstage. He has a famous ravioli recipe to prove it. Although Jean Sibelius did not compose during the latter part of his life, he did take the time to concoct […]

YOU PLAY BACH YOUR WAY, AND I'LL PLAY HIM HIS WAY. WANDA LANDOWSKA