A few notes:

  • Montalban (nucleo in Caracas) early childhood musicianship class (“Initiation” class).
  • Students are 4 years old and come 2-3 times per week
  • One child has the egg maracas and plays along with the teacher, responding to the music.
  • Some of her peers have been invited to dance along with her playing and keep the rhythm.
  • Children are not inhibited in this class- they have fun, sing loudly, dance freely and are encouraged to participate freely and joyfully.
  • You will see two children with Simon Bolivar Orchestra jackets on, looking up to their role models.
  • The teacher is using the Cuatro, a popular folk instrument in Venezuela, to teach.

When El Sistema initially began, people criticized the program for taking kids away from traditional Venezuelan music. However, since the start of El Sistema, more children have been playing folk instruments than ever before (music breeds music). El Sistema has a cuatro program and also gives cuatro groups space to rehearse and perform.  The group in the video below is called C4trio. Some of the members actually went through El Sistema. This is a clip from a performance we heard last night from their version of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Some amazing musicianship.

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