Inspired by the philosophy and innovative methodology of El Sistema in Venezuela, El Sistema Greece offers free choir and orchestral instrument classes to children and youth from different backgrounds.
El Sistema Greece spreads music across the region of Athens: Skaramagkas Refugee Camp, Elaionas Refugee Camp, Apostoli NGO at Moschato, and Malliaras School in Alimos are the main nucleos where El Sistema Greece currently operates. Our headquarters are located at Kypselis 62, in the multicultural and vibrant Kypseli neighbourhood. Here, we have 250 square meters dedicated to free music lessons for choir, violin, viola and cello. We are developing programs in other refugee camps and community centers in Athens, as well as starting a collaboration in Thessaloniki.
During the first year of El Sistema Greece, in 2016, we offered 380 hours of choir and violin classes. In 2017, we managed to offer 1,099 hours of choir, violin, cello and viola classes. In 2018, we added lessons for trumpet, clarinet and percussion to our weekly schedule for a total of 1,331 hours in the year. Over 1,250 children and youth between the ages of 5 and 26 have had access to El Sistema tuition since the programme started.
El Sistema Greece works closely with Greek music teachers. We have a pedagogical coordinator who supports the teachers and works with them to continuously adapt our programs to Greece’s changing environment. A Venezuelan director of music works with our pedagogical coordinator and our El Sistema Greece teachers as well as international pedagogues to design our overall pedagogy.
We collaborate with other NGOs in refugee camps, with community centers, Greek officials, and Greece’s major cultural centers to allow our students to perform in the best venues and experience the joy of being on stage.
We work closely with translators from refugee communities to make our lessons accessible to students of all backgrounds. We broaden students’ horizons by bringing international composers, pedagogues and artists to train our teachers and work with the students themselves. We seek the most cutting edge techniques and practices to help us pursue our mission and shape an innovative pedagogy.
Our work is about bringing people together, no matter their religions or origins.
We work with local teachers and a pedagogical coordinator. We collaborate with the NGOs currently present in the camps, as well as with the official authorities in Greece and major cultural institutions. All our translators belong to local refugee communities.
We take international composers, teachers and artists to work with our students and to support our teachers. The most updated techniques and practices can help us pursue our mission and to shape an innovative pedagogy.
CHILDREN AS ARTISTS
Performances of our choirs and orchestras are held regularly for parents, other refugees, international NGOs, just to show that something good can happen in the camps and community centers. Children feel empowered by living their role as artists and beauty transmitters, and by performing as well at the most prestigious venues.
Integrating refugees with young Greek musicians as well as children from migrant communities with long-term residence in Greece since 2016P
“In its essence, the orchestra and the choir are much more than artistic structures. They are examples and schools of social life, because to sing and to play together means to intimately coexist toward perfection and excellence, following a strict discipline of organization and coordination in order to seek the harmonic interdependence of voices and instruments.
That’s how they build a spirit of solidarity and fraternity among them, develop their self-esteem, and foster the ethical and aesthetical values related to the music in all its sense. This is why music is immensely important.”
Maestro José Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema (1939 – 2018)
As a result of the project, well-being of children is enhanced through music education. We promote dialogue and provide a positive experience of joint co-creation. Ultimately, we develop the ability of the children to work in a team and to build a community.