A group of educators and musicians in Indianapolis has come together to launch a pilot program of free ensemble music education for children in the city. The inspiration for this program is "El Sistema," begun by Jose Abreu in Venezuela in 1975 and eventually spreading worldwide. In the United States, El Sistema USA 's mission is "to effect social change through music for children with the fewest resources and the greatest need." El Sistema Indianapolis is a member of El Sistema USA.
While El Sistema programs take varied forms in their different locations, they generally provide free instruments and ensemble instruction to students in an "immersion" program that meets 4-5 days a week after school. The goal is to provide the students a sense of community, empowerment, accomplishment and pride, rather than strictly musical skills.
In Indianapolis, we are planning a pilot program for about 20 students at IPS School 87 (on Indiana Avenue) and in the neighborhood, teaching them ukulele (which is relatively easy to learn and inexpensive, and a gateway to other string instruments). The program will meet four times a week after school for twelve weeks. El Sistema Indianapolis is on Facebook and is affiliated with an arts non-profit organization called "Fractured Atlas" through which El Sistema Indianapolis is raising tax-deductible contributions to launch the pilot program.
Donations can be made here.