Musical Futures: ‘a radical alternative’ to El Sistema

7th March 2015

Musical Futures has been recognised in Dr Geoffrey Baker’s recent investigation of the Venezuelan instrumental and social music education programme. In ‘El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth’, Baker describes MF as ‘one of the most radical and promising music education initiatives’, the influence of which is spreading internationally. He praises MF’s grounding in research on classroom-based informal learning; the prioritization of listening, improvising, and composing as key skills in the learning process; and the student-led nature of the approach.

The book suggests that there is room for much improvement in the Venezuelan approach. He draws direct comparisons between El Sistema and Musical Futures:

“El Sistema requires an extraordinary and continuous outlay of money on infrastructure and instruments, primarily for the program’s elite students, and would fall apart without the continuous injection of huge funds. It also creates dependency through its educational practices and monopolisation of funding. Musical Futures represents a radical alternative: a genuinely new pedagogy, and a grassroots movement led by teachers and students rather than a central institution. With minimal funding required, it is not only much cheaper but also more self-sufficient and sustainable than El Sistema.”

A review of Dr Baker’s book can be found here.

Excellent workshops ‑ extremely accessible for all abilities and levels."

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra