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El Sistema USA encourages our members to be responsive to the needs of their communities, students, and families regarding events surrounding the coronavirus or COVID-19. We encourage following the lead of your local schools, governments and communities, and helping to ensure that all of our faculty, staff, and kids stay safe, healthy, and continuing to learn! We will update this page with information and news, and we encourage you to utilize the El Sistema USA Facebook Group to be in touch with other members of El Sistema USA.

El Sistema USA is a Member of the National Association for Music Educators Round Table; they have compiled a list of resources on their COVID-19 site. Take a look at the instrument hygiene page!

Additionally, we will be sharing helpful articles and webinars related to fundraising and general operations in a crisis, as our mission of effecting social change through music for children with the fewest resources and the greatest need is as important now as ever.

Federal and State Support for Nonprofits, and how it relates to El Sistema-Inspired Organizations

The federal government and state governments have passed various legislation that can help support nonprofit organizations (including El Sistema-inspired programs) that have suffered losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These include losses from special events that have been canceled, grant funding that is no longer applicable, individual income losses, having to decrease teaching and staff hours, laying off teachers and staff and other emergency circumstances.

The National Council of Nonprofits is the association of the country’s state nonprofit associations and has published an initial analysisof the CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act). This includes important provisions for Members of El Sistema USA to keep in mind:

  • Small Business Loans – Loans for payroll, health insurance premiums, facilities and debt service that could be forgiven IF employers maintain their payroll from February 15 through June 30, with eligibility provisions for nonprofits that whole or part of the loan could be forgiven, essentially turning the loan into an emergency cash grant. Applicable to all businesses with fewer than 500 employees.  This is an opportunity El Sistema USA encourages our members to pursue, in partnership with their bank or lending institution. Applications available now – click here. 
  • Payroll Tax Credits for employers who do not receive a small business loan, continue to pay their employees full-time, and whose employees must take time off for a variety of reasons: illness due to the coronavirus, caring for a sick family member, and caring for children because schools and daycare centers are closed.
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance Benefits for full-time staff that you have had to lay-off, and for contract teaching artists and other staff that are part of your Sistema team and are not full-time, and you’ve had to decrease or cut their hours

On the same site is a link to many State Nonprofit Associations, where you will find State-specific coronavirus relief resources, and guidance in pursuing these relief options.

The National Association of Music Makers (NAMM) compiled an excellent two-part webinar series on the financial relief opportunities outlined for small businesses(under 500 employees) in CARES.

Musician and Teaching Artist Relief Funds

There are many opportunities for small grants for musicians and teaching artists who need immediate financial support due to loss of income related to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a list of links to resources that we found directly apply to the potential financial needs of El Sistema inspired-program teaching artists and were still open and available as of this posting

Americans for the Arts COVID-19 Resource and Response Center
New World Symphony’s Musician Relief Resources
The Grammy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund COVID-19 Relief Fund
Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund
I Care If You Listen COVID-19 Emergency Funding Artist Relief Resources
COVID-19 and Freelance Artists

Foundation Grant Opportunities related to COVID-19, that are a likely fit for El Sistema-Inspired Programs

The Lewis Prize for Music
GrantStation COVID-19 Funding Opportunities – GrantStation has national, state and local COVID-19 relief grants available to search, free of membership.
Foundant Technology Grantseeker and Nonprofit Resources
National Endowment for the Arts
National Center for Family Philanthropy COVID-19 Resources
Community Foundations by State – The Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative– listing of Coronavirus relief grant opportunities by State

Booz Allen Foundation

Resources for Supporting Undocumented and Immigrant Students and Families:

Catholic Immigration Network Incorporated (CLINIC) COVID-19 Resources

Resources for Teaching Online for El Sistema-Inspired Programs:

Music Educators Creating Online Learning Facebook Group
El Sistema USA Facebook Group
The Global Leaders Program Emergency Response Series


Notes from March 16 “What’s Your Plan?” contingency planning and ideas meeting. Includes helpful resources and links. 

We’d love your ideas for continuing our young musician’s pursuit of music at home, on their phones, tablets, and computers. Members of El Sistema USA can subscribe for free to the online music learning resources of Picardy! (Hyperlink to  Send an e-mail to and let them know your organization is a Member of El Sistema USA,  that you are reaching out for your free account.

Members of El Sistema USA have access to Noteflight, an online resource for music lessons, composition, and learning! Click here for instructions to open your free account as a Member of El Sistema USA.

Free Content Library Included in El Sistema USA Noteflight Learn Membership:

With your Noteflight Learn subscription you have access to our Noteflight Learn Content Library with hundreds of repertoire and exercises. We have a bunch of filters on the side that will help narrow down your search. Each Member will receive one login account, to be shared by users throughout your organization.

Noteflight YouTube Playlists:

Check out our YouTube playlists where Master Teachers have submitted video lesson plans for students and teachers.

Noteflight Learn Lesson Resources Plans:

We have a library of over 100 ready-to-go lesson plans created by teachers. There is also a filtering option to help you narrow down your search. is offering free student accounts during the time your schools is closed due to COVID-19. Check out this page for more information on SRF student accounts and the assignments feature. If your school will be closed due to the COVID-19 virus and you’d like to take advantage of this offer of free student accounts during the time your school is closed, please write to us at

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