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Committed to Supporting the El Sistema-inspired Movement

Photo Credit: © United Childrens Music Project

Join the Movement of
Equity-based Music Programs

This includes providing resources for individuals and organizations inspired by El Sistema to strengthen existing programs and nurture new programs in communities. Becoming a Member of El Sistema USA means joining the national movement of #ElSistemaProud by working together with like-minded programs across the country. As Members of El Sistema USA, we learn from each other and support one another in order to better support our communities.

Photo Credit: © Project Music

Helping Members Thrive

El Sistema USA Programs and Benefits

Our programming focuses on staff professional development, data & advocacy, and student learning & leadership. These programs support our members on an organizational level, as well as the individuals that comprise the organization, including administrators, teaching artists, and students.

Become a member today and see how El Sistema USA can help your program thrive!

Membership Criteria

There are eight criteria that El Sistema USA has established for our members:

Social Change

Central to the mission of the program is a demonstrated commitment to music as a vehicle for social change. Program has key partners that provide expertise in both music and social development.


In order to provide all children with intensive opportunities to practice and excel, students have access to at least 5 hours of musical instruction per week


Primarily serve children with financial access barriers to other high-quality music programs. Provide programs in a manner that ensures equal access to all children regardless of ability to pay.


Emphasize ensemble programming as a core element of curriculum

Nucleo Environment

Students gather in a central location that serves as the program’s home and is a safe haven and emblem of music as a social change agent in the community

Programs demonstrate unifying practices that encourage students and teachers to know and support each other and develop a unique culture characterized by: student driven activities, and instructor mentorship where students feel loved and valued as a member of the nucleo community


Programs are of high quality; defined in part by regular musical instruction and established practices for measurable outcomes in both musical growth and positive social change

Central to the curriculum are practices which foster musical excellence at all stages of development


Proven parental involvement and community engagement practices


Programs serve children for a minimum of 3 years and aspire to serve them beyond childhood and into young adulthood

Membership Guide 2023-24

We invite you to download our Membership Guide to learn more about El Sistema USA Membership.

Membership Options

If you are unsure what membership is right for you or your organization, please contact us!

Organization Membership

For established El Sistema-inspired organizations that meet the membership criteria (above).

Apply Now

The price for membership is either $350.00 or $500.00 per year, depending on budget size

Affiliate Organization Membership

For organizations that align with the ESUSA core values and vision, but may not meet all of the membership criteria OR are not U.S/Canada based.

Apply Now

The price for membership is either $350.00 or $500.00 per year, depending on budget size

Member in Training

For El Sistema-inspired organizations in the first year of existence that meet or are working toward meeting the membership criteria. ($250/year)

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Individual Membership

For individuals who align with the core values and vision of ESUSA. ($100/year)

Apply Now

Member Benefits Comparison Chart

What Our Members Are Saying

“I believe [Youth Leadership] is important for students to connect and collaborate with like-minded students as a constant reminder that we are not alone in our struggles and they will hopefully have the opportunity to experience joy and try new things.”

ESUSA 2023 High School Youth Ambassador

“El Sistema USA has provided vital assistance to me as a Teaching Artist and Program Director at a lean-and-mean El Sistema Inspired Program in the greater Washington, DC area. At Regional Gatherings, National Symposiums, and virtual forums, I glean countless practical tools and inspirational takeaways that refresh my vision for my program’s path forward, and I meet the loveliest like-minded music educators, administrators, and supporters of the mission of social change through music education. Then I share these tools and visions with the Teaching Artists on my team.”

Cindy Joy Gossman, ASO Sympatico

“As a small organization, our membership in ESUSA has been an invaluable resource. The data collection help that ESUSA has spearheaded has been a useful tool that was easy to administer with a small group of volunteers. It has provided deep insight into how our students feel about their developing musical skills, why they continue their studies with us, and how we can improve our program to meet their needs and interests.

Liz Grimshaw, Founder and Executive Director, Crescendo Phoenixville
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