Music education can transform children's lives...


Evidence shows music education provides extraordinary benefits to at-risk children. Combined with social services, music education can transform children's lives. Children International El Sistema-inspired programs exemplify this transformational power. Our mission is to share the stories of these children and the teachers who work with them. Further, our goal is raise awareness about the learning theory supporting these successes.


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Combined with social services, music education can transform children's lives.


Music programs

The central goals of Children International and the El Sistema movement that began in a garage in the slums of Caracas are the same: to free children from the cycle of poverty.

How does music education achieve that? Research shows these benefits:

  • Improved cognitive and social skills

  • Lifelong academic success

  • Improvements in the way the children's brains process and assimilate sounds


Learning Theory 

In the past two decades, in cognitive and learning sciences, education sciences, and in behavioral and developmental psychology, as well as in brain imaging, research has shown what most motivates children to learn, what kind of situation they learn best in, and what roles mentors should play that would be the most supportive of learning. 

With the spread of El Sistema-inspired programs both during and after school in the United States, neuroscientists have increased their attention to how ensemble music participation advances learning. Essentially, as some professors and neuroscientists have pointed out, music and music education tap into our basic humanity, and bring us together as citizens in our community, while also contributing to the formation of our individual identity. 


Teaching: adults and peer-to-peer

These are the key elements to the teaching methodology:

Students work together in a unified effort. Lesser skilled students try to imitate those who are more skilled. More skillful students help out. It's all about peer-to-peer learning.

Professional-caliber musicians teach the ensembles. 

Teachers and students working together to achieve something that can be achieved. Together they set out to master a composition, and when they have done so, they get to perform it for others.