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.

Under Take a Stand, 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 of Los Angeles. MAT alums are teaching and performing at programs across the country, including YOLA, SDYS Community Opus Project, Miami Music Project, and B Sharp Youth Music.

Another key project of Take a Stand 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.

Take a Stand also launched the National Take a Stand Festival which brings together orchestral musicians aged 12-18 from El Sistema-inspired and aligned programs across the country. Through this free, 7-day camp, students not only have access to top artistic and educational resources, but experience some of the world’s finest learning institutions and concert venues. In addition to programming, travel, lodging, and food is free for all selected students.

Highlights from the 2017 National Take a Stand Festival