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El Sistema USA is committed to supporting existing El Sistema-inspired programs across the United States, as well as nurturing new programs in communities that would benefit from them.

What does that mean?

Becoming a Member of El Sistema USA means joining the National movement of #MusicForSocialChange by working together with like-minded programs across the country.  By working together we can learn from each other, support each other, promote each other, and encourage the development of new El Sistema-inspired programs in communities that need them.  We can garner greater attention from the press, leverage our numbers, and consolidate efforts so that we each have a greater voice and greater social impact.

We, as a membership organization, promise to ensure that you receive a great deal of value for your membership!

Member Benefits

1. Learning & Networking Events

National Symposium

Each year, we host a National Symposium of leaders, teaching artists, and supporters of the El Sistema movement. In 2019, 200+ attendees gathered in Detroit, MI for the 2019 El Sistema USA National Symposium, “360 Degrees of Excellence”. In addition to networking with organizations and leaders, there were 20+ sessions to attend and chances to watch master teachers work with local programs.

The 2020 Symposium is scheduled for January 31 – February 2 in Durham, NC and will be focused on Racial Diversity & Cultural Understanding & Musical Excellence.

Visit for Registration, Schedule, and more information!

Regional Seminarios & Gatherings

Each year, we support, fund, and organize the gathering of students, teaching artists, and leaders regionally at Regional Seminarios. These are two – three day events intended to bring students from El Sistema USA Member Organizations together to make music, friends, and memories.

In 2020, we will bring students from the Mid-Atlantic & Southern Region together at the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium, in the Pacific Northwest in the Spring of 2020, and in the Northeast at Tanglewood in the Summer of 2020.

El Sistema USA Online Working Groups

In addition to our in-person gatherings, El Sistema USA hosts online virtual meetings every other month for four Working Groups. Led by facilitators in the field, these are opportunities for leaders, administrators, and teaching artists to gather online to share resources, hear from external speakers, and challenge each other to solve common problems. In addition to meeting each month, the resources, notes, and recordings generated from these groups will be available online for all members. In January, at the National Symposium, each group will have a chance to participate in a Deep Dive to further discuss their topics and goals.

In 2019-2020, those groups are:

  • Equity Centered Pedagogy
  • Small & Emerging Organizations
  • Public School Partnerships
  • Programming for High School Students

Visit for more information!


2. Advocacy for Music Organizations

Music Education Advocacy

Through our position on the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) Music Education Policy Roundtable, we actively advocate for policies that support state and federal funding for music education in schools.


3. Funding & Partnership Opportunities

PRESTO (Program for Rising El Sistema-Inspired Organizations)

PRESTO is currently our largest funding opportunity which includes a 3-year $1 million investment in 13 organizations within their early years as an organization. Through funding, professional development, and mentorship, we are helping grow the capacity of new and emerging organizations.

Scholarships & Partnership Opportunities

Through partnerships with organizations and institutions, we offer a variety of scholarships and special opportunities for members. These have included the following:

  • Full-tuition scholarships to the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University designated for students in El Sistema USA Member Organizations
  • A partnership with Guitars 4 Gifts that has resulted in donations of new instruments to over 40 El Sistema USA Member organizations
  • A partnership with Conn Selmer resulting in a Special Pricing Program that allows Members to purchase instruments at 75% reduction.
  • Repertoire arranged specifically for El Sistema Member organizations through various partnerships, including a partnership with The Canales Project
  • Conference Discounts with organizations like the Sphinx Organization, League of American Orchestras, Los Angeles’ Philharmonic’s “Take A Stand” and “YOLA National Symposium”, New England Conservatory’s Professional Development Opportunities and more.

Technical Grants

In addition to PRESTO, we offer small technical grants for as reinvestment in the field for member-based projects.


4. Evaluation & Research

Through our partnership with Duke University, we engage in National Research on behalf of the El Sistema field in the United States. Currently, we’re involved in a project that is measuring what impact participation in El Sistema program has on families. This project has many opportunities for members to engage.

In addition, we have partnered with Duke University to complete our annual census which provides benchmarking data for the field. You can see one of our published studies, “Elements of Organizational Success”, on our website which was a study we completed with Duke University through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.


5. Online Resources & Awareness Building

Online Resources

Our online store has hundreds of free resources for Member organizations. This includes program template documents, funding strategy documents, curriculum resources, repertoire for ensembles, and so much more. Our Video Library contains recordings and materials from all past webinars.

Awareness Building

Our presence on social media reaches 10,000 followers and our newsletter has over 2,000 subscribers. Through our monthly newsletter and social media marketing, we work to advance the brand of El Sistema nationally and highlight the work of our Member organizations around the country!


Criteria for Membership in El Sistema USA

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