„The hopes of the educated are stronger than the wealth of the ignorant“. – Democritus
In our mission to enable young people in Serbia to have quality musical education that will help them walk joyfully, boldly, persistently and safely through life, and to actively create their future, the system of ensembles formed at a local, regional and national level was named “Orchestras and choirs of hope“.
El Sistema is a program of social change encouraging young people to develop personal qualities and competences through group music making within the orchestra and choir system that will enable them to become compassionate and proactive members of society and contribute further to the development of their community and culture. Inspired by the beauty of music and empowered by their own diversity, members of the orchestras and choirs, perfecting their musical skills, learn that the way to the top is much easier, faster and fun if they rely on each other, guided by common values and goals. All activities, values and goals of El Sistema rely on the basic principles or “pillars” of this program, wherever they might be implemented.
- Social change: is the main and ultimate goal, executed by the individual interaction, its immediate and wider environment. In this process, children, their parents, teachers and the wider community take part, while the child, progressing in its musical skills, gradually expands the circle of influence and develops its identity and awareness as a member of the community.
- Accessibility: All El Sistema programs are free with intention to include as many younger children as possible and for as long as possible. This program is especially focused on involving children from vulnerable groups, thus providing an opportunity for everyone to learn the beauty of life through the beauty of music.
- Orchestra and Choir Systems: By respecting and adhering to the values of El Sistema, the orchestra becomes a model of society where rivalry is replaced by common aspirations, work and mutual support as means of achieving common goals. Members of El Sistema orchestras and choirs are not only responsible for personal growth and improvement, but also for the progress of the entire group. They are all at the same time teachers and students, and in this way they simultaneously develop their musical, emotional and social skills through devoted work, empathy and a sense of responsibility towards others.
- Frequency: Work within the El Sistema program is not tough or based on a strict discipline, but on results achieved through the experience of “flow”, i.e., when there is a perfect balance between effort involved, the difficulty of the task, personal abilities and student’s affinities. Through this approach, the natural inner motivation is stimulated serving as drive for success, work ethics, sacrifice and dedication – values that have the power to change and improve the lives of many children. Ensembles meet several times a week to avoid pressure and ensure continued progress of all members. Frequent performances are particularly important part of the development, providing children with very valuable practical experience, with the possibility for their work to be displayed and evaluated.
- Connectivity: all centers are connected in a unique network with a goal of allowing students to continuously improve through setting higher goals and new valuable experiences gained through advancement through the system of orchestras and choirs. Students, depending on their own affinities and abilities, move from beginner ensembles to national and international orchestras, expanding their individual influence on the society. Connectivity with the community in which the center operates is established through the diverse activities of the centers. By including the parents, volunteers, donors and in interaction with the local audience during frequent performances, necessary support to young musicians is provided and a sense of community and cultural growth is achieved.