Mass Creates 1st State Program to Support El Sistema Music Education

A man teaches a girl the violin as part of Kids 4 Harmony, a program of Berkshire Children and Families.This week the Mass Cultural Council launched the first state initiative in the U.S. to bring music education to underserved youth through programs inspired by El Sistema.

SerHacer (To Make, To Be) will provide pilot grants, musical instruments, and technical support to nine youth music programs across Massachusetts. Led by local schools and social service providers, each program employs teaching and learning models based on El Sistema, which has lifted thousands of poor, disenfranchised children out of poverty through intensive musical training and social support in Venezuela, Argentina, & elsewhere. SerHacer will also fund new research to advance studies that show how making music helps children develop essential executive functioning skills such as focus, planning, and problem-solving.

SerHacer builds off Mass Cultural Council’s 20-year-old YouthReach Initiative, a nationally celebrated program that supports the arts, humanities, and sciences to help at-risk youth create better futures and become more active, engaged contributors to civic life and social justice, said Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker.

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Sample Press:

Massachusetts Becomes First State to Fund Music Education via El Sistema Program, WBUR
Massachusetts Cultural Council Pushes Sistema Music Educatione, Boston Globe
El Sistema Music Education Strikes Chord with Schools, Boston Herald