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equity for all



At The Conservatory School, we sought to provide our students with a world-class, intensive instrumental music instruction. In seeing how we could bring this vision to life, we found inspiration in El SIstema--a model for social change and a visionary global movement that transforms the lives of children through music.

Forty-five years ago in a parking garage in Caracas, Dr. José Antonio Abreu gathered together 11 children to play music. El Sistema was born. It now teaches music to over 300,000 of Venezuela’s poorest children, demonstrating the power of ensemble music to dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation’s youth while transforming the communities around them.

What distinguishes an El Sistema-inspired program in the U.S.?

El Sistema is a set of inspiring ideals that has led to an intensive after-school music program that seeks to effect social change through the pursuit of musical excellence. El Sistema focuses on children with the fewest resources and greatest need and is delivered at no cost to participants.

Core values: 
  • Every human being has the right to a life of dignity and contribution.

  • Every child can learn to experience and express music and art deeply and receive its many benefits.

  • Overcoming poverty and adversity is best done by first strengthening the spirit, creating, as Dr. Abreu puts it: “an affluence of the spirit.”

  • Effective education is based on love, approval, joy and experience within a high-functioning, aspiring, nurturing community. Every child has limitless possibilities and the ability to strive for excellence. “Trust the young” informs every aspect of the work.

  •  Learning organizations never arrive but are always becoming—striving to include more students, greater musical excellence, better teaching. Thus, flexibility, experimentation, and risk-taking are inherent and desirable aspects of every program.

TCS is proud to be a founding member of El Sistema USA, an alliance of El Sistema programs in the United States.

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