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Headline Findings from First Full Year of National Research Study of El Sistema-inspired Programs

Headline Findings from the U.S. National El Sistema Study

Over the past two years, researchers from WolfBrown and Longy School of Music of Bard College have been studying what happens when 3rd-5th graders participate in orchestral learning inspired by the Venezuelan youth musical movement, El Sistema. with funding from the Buck Family and the Andrew W. Mellon foundations, we have completed a pilot year and first year of a longitudinal study. Thanks to the collaboration of ten sites across the U.S., we are excited to announce findings in multiple domains:

  • Successful collective impact research design
  • Field-tested and reliable tools that work across many program designs
  • Youth Impact
    • Major strides in musical learning: Significant growth in the fundamentals of music, like pitch, rhythm, and intonation
    • Increased school success as measured by grades and self-reported data on dimensions like academic behaviors and school engagement
    • Improved socio-emotional learning, especially in the critical area of growth mindset
    • Possible threshold effects: It may take as long as two years for these effects to emerge, highlighting how critical long-term retention in these programs is.


Click here to download the full report (PDF)