Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music

Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music

by Eric Booth, Tricia Tunstall

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Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music by Eric Booth, Tricia Tunstall

An eye-opening view of the unprecedented global spread of El Sistema—intensive music education that disrupts the cycles of poverty.In some of the bleakest corners of the world, an unprecedented movement is taking root. From the favelas of Brazil to the Maori villages in New Zealand, from occupied Palestine to South Central Los Angeles, musicians with strong social consciences are founding intensive orchestra programs for children in need.In this captivating and inspiring account, authors Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth tell the remarkable story of the international El Sistema movement. A program that started over four decades ago with a handful of music students in a parking garage in Caracas, El Sistema has evolved into one of classical music’s most vibrant new expressions and one of the world’s most promising social initiatives. Now with more than 700,000 students in Venezuela, El Sistema’s central message—that music can be a powerful tool for social change—has burst borders to grow in 64 countries (and that number increases steadily) across the globe.To discover what makes this movement successful across the radically different cultures that have embraced it, the authors traveled to 25 countries, where they discovered programs thriving even in communities ravaged by poverty, violence, or political unrest. At the heart of each program is a deep commitment to inclusivity. There are no auditions or entry costs, so El Sistema’s doors are open to any child who wants to learn music—or simply needs a place to belong.While intensive music-making may seem an unlikely solution to intractable poverty, this book bears witness to a program that is producing tangible changes in the lives of children and their communities. The authors conclude with a compelling and practicable call to action, highlighting civic and corporate collaborations that have proven successful in communities around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393245646
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/13/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 563,758
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Eric Booth, one of 2015’s Fifty Most Influential Leaders in American Nonprofit Arts, is a celebrated teacher, actor, writer, director, and businessman. A longtime faculty member at Juilliard and Lincoln Center Education, he is the author of The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible and winner of America’s highest award in arts education.

Tricia Tunstall is the author of Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music and Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson. A leading advocate for the importance of music education in children’s development, she consults with El Sistema programs in the United States and internationally.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Part I What Is El Sistema?

Chapter 1 To Play and to Struggle: El Sistema in Venezuela 3

Chapter 2 The Global Spread of the El Sistema Vision 21

Chapter 3 Understanding El Sistema: A Few Key Ideas 42

Part II Key Elements of the El Sistema Learning Environment

Chapter 4 Radical Inclusion 63

Chapter 5 Ensemble Learning 108

Chapter 6 Peer Learning 132

Chapter 7 Music as Passion and Expressivity 145

Chapter 8 Intensity 168

Chapter 9 High Musical Aspiration 195

Chapter 10 Family and Community Involvement 217

Part III Overview of a Movement

Chapter 11 Different Cultures, Different Needs 243

Chapter 12 Following the Money 274

Chapter 13 Connecting the Dots 303

Chapter 14 What We Can Learn from El Sistema 318

Chapter 15 A Reflection and a Celebration 344

Notes 353

Acknowledgments 357


Appendix I Directory of El Sistema-Inspired Programs 359

Appendix II A Short List of Recommended Useful Resources 377

Appendix III Defining an El Sistema-Inspired Program 383

Index 387

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