Harmony Stockton Project
United Way, the Stockton Symphony and the University of the Pacific are working in collaboration on Harmony Stockton. Harmony Stockton is a program that is closely aligned with the core principles and teaching methods of the renowned El Sistema programs from Venezuela.
El Sistema was founded in Venezuela 35 years ago by economist and musician, Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu. The program has served millions of impoverished children from the barrios of Venezuela, giving them violins and trumpets as an alternative to weapons. Dr. Abreu often says that the most devastating experience in poverty is not to be without bread and a roof, but to be "no one." Not only has this program raised children to be members of orchestras rather than gangs, but it has increased their sense of self-worth.
United Way, the Stockton Symphony and the University of the Pacific are excited about the positive impact that this program will have on the community. Through rigorous study of music, students will learn work ethic, cooperation, and leadership within the community of a string orchestra. In addition to developing the characteristics of successful people, our students will be instilled with pride for themselves, their school, and their community. These children will be known throughout the Stockton community for their musical abilities. By sharing their musical gifts, they will be role models for their peers and liaisons between diverse populations within Stockton. Positive growth at the individual level is the first step in effecting change within a community.
In addition to these goals of social change, United Way, the Stockton Symphony and the University of the Pacific anticipate very positive improvements in the academic performance of students involved in the program. Harmony Stockton will conduct a thorough evaluation to examine the correlations between rigorous musical instruction and academic performance. This program has the potential to impact directly the school's Academic Performance Index rating.
Harmony Stockton will serve approximately 70 third through fifth grade students in its pilot year, and expand to 100 second through sixth graders in its second year. The program will be based at a racially diverse, Title 1 elementary school, where a minimum of 80% of the students receive free or reduced lunch. It will run Monday through Friday, starting immediately after school dismissal, and ending at 6:00 p.m. This program will be offered through the existing after-school program in Stockton Unified, Step Up, though 100% of students' time will be spent in Harmony Stockton. There will be no tuition cost for this program. It is very important to note that this program will not become a replacement for existing music classes that are offered during the school day.
Recommended Video Clips
"El Sistema" Trailer for the upcoming film (3 min.)
The documentary "El Sistema" is a full length film that was released in 2009.
Simón Bolívar Orchestra - Mambo (3 min. 24 sec.)
The top youth orchestra from the Venezuelan system plays to an enthusiastic audience. Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (graduate of El Sistema and current conductor of Los Angeles Philharmonic)
El Sistema USA (5 min. 45 sec.)
This clip focuses on the beginning of the movement in the U.S. and features comments from some of the major leaders in the El Sistema USA network. (Dr. Abreu, Mark Churchill, Eric Booth, Anne Fitzgibbon, and the inaugural class of Abreu Fellows)
TEDxPhilly - Stanford Thompson - Tune Up Philly
0:00-6:22 looks at the beginning of the El Sistema inspired program Tune-Up Philly in Philadelphia, PA