El Sistema Oklahoma Takes Part in YCIW…

Original Compositions by El Sistema Oklahoma Students!

In the winter of 2015 I had just completed my YCIW presentation at the Texas Music Educators Association national conference when I first met Dr. Michael Raiber, Busey Chair of Music Education at Oklahoma City University and Director of Teacher Support for El Sistema Oklahoma.  He explained to me that he and his staff had been working on plans to include a composition curriculum at El Sistema Oklahoma and that after learning about YCIW from my presentation he said he realized this is how they could do it. Thus began our work with ESO where the YCIW curriculum has been used by its amazing teachers to help their students compose and perform original music!

The YCIW program makes composition accessible and engaging not only for our most advanced students, but also for those who are just beginning their musical journey. It has been an incredibly rewarding program for our students – we can see the pride on their faces when they hear their pieces played live for the first time! YCIW has not only helped our students explore music creatively, but has also developed their skills in communication, teamwork, and decision making. We are thrilled to be working with this program and are looking forward to sharing more of our students’ compositions with our community!

-Alexandra Rodriguez, El Sistema Oklahoma Teacher

El Sistema Oklahoma is a well-respected, successful and unique after-school program serving over 200 third to ninth grade underserved public school children in the heart of Oklahoma City. Through instrumental instruction five days per week teachers and staff provide its participants much more than a music education. Their work is shaping the lives of young people in profoundly meaningful ways. Children do not have to audition for the program and ALL programs and services are provided free of charge to participating families. El Sistema Oklahoma is a mission driven organization that takes great pride and joy in working with children.

The YCIW team is extremely grateful for the opportunity to provide ESO and their talented teachers our tools and curriculum for helping with their composition course. ESO students not only compose their own pieces but they also perform them as well! One of our core missions at YCIW is to give music students a deeper connection to music that they perform and we know this happens when students become composer-performers.

“YCIW provided the tools that unleashed the creativity that was already present in our children. It is important to learn to play music but to be able to communicate your own thoughts, feelings and ideas through your own music is transformational for children, and particularly for children who often feel voiceless. YCIW accelerated our ability to bring this area of our curriculum to life. It is absolutely a favorite class for all the kids in our program.”

-Robyn Hilger, Executive Director for El Sistema Oklahoma