Take a Stand

The powerful message of El Sistema, Venezuela’s revolutionary music education program, is spreading across the United States and igniting a movement that engages thousands of children and families in music making and community building. Recognizing the need to support the growth of this pioneering field, Bard College, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and the LA Philharmonic formed Take a Stand in 2011—an innovative national initiative that fosters social change through music.

A key project is the annual Take a Stand Symposium, which brings together El Sistema advocates and educators from around the world for teaching seminars and program development. In addition to the symposia and the National Take a Stand Festival events, Longy School of Music of Bard College launched the first-ever degree-granting program inspired by El Sistema, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Music (MAT). This 12-month MAT and teaching credential program was developed in partnership with the LA Philharmonic’s El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. With more than 50 graduates working in the field, MAT alums are teaching at programs across the country, including YOLA, SDYS Community Opus Project, Miami Music Project, and B Sharp Youth Music

The Longy School of Music of Bard College launched the first degree-granting program inspired by El Sistema in the world, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Music in 2013. The MAT provides its students with an onsite practicum—a rare opportunity to teach and learn in one place. Combining this learning lab approach with fieldwork in El Sistema-inspired programs and public schools throughout the region, the MAT provides a highly focused curriculum designed to prepare a new generation of educators committed to the values of El Sistema.