Joint Study of the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Wolf Brown

Headline Findings from the U.S. National El Sistema Study October 17, 2016

Nearly three years ago, we met with many of you at the Take a Stand conference in Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of a collective study of the impacts of early orchestral learning in El Sistema-inspired programs. Though none of us could have predicted all the hard work and long hours that would be involved, we are sharing headline findings from the first-ever cross-site investigation of the ways in which orchestral learning affects young children’s lives.

Funded by the Buck Family  Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 

Participating Sites:

Conservatory Lab Charter School, Boston, MA

Incredible Children’s Art Network, Santa Barbara, CA

Kalamazoo Kids in Tune, Kalamazoo, MI

Kidznotes, Durham, NC

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra CHAMPS, Newark, NJ

OrchKids, Baltimore, MD

People’s Music School Youth Orchestras, Chicago, IL

Play on Philly!, Philadelphia, PA

Reno Philharmonic Association Kids, Reno, NV

San Diego Youth Symphony Opus Project, San Diego, CA

Research Fellows:  Jennifer Johnson, Angelica Cortez and Elizabeth Stuk

With acknowledgement to the 2014-15 cohort of Longy MAT students for participating in initial measure design and piloting at selected sites.

Through our joint effort, we have: 

  • Developed a set of field tested tools: these measures can be used in a wide range of settings to investigate the effects of early orchestral experiences on children during their early elementary school years
  • Demonstrated the collaborative spirit of El Sistema inspired programs: ten different sites joined together for two years of joint research
  • Identified gains in three key domains: musical performance, socio-emotional learning, and academic achievement
  • Laid the foundation for continuing longitudinal research: the Buck Family has continued their support for 2016-17 data collection and we are actively pursuing other sources of funding that will let us track the ongoing impact of participating in El Sistema inspired programs.



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