Founded in 1975 by Venezuelan educator, musician and activist José Antonio Abreu, Sistema-inspired programs provide classical music education to families at no cost. Children are taught how to play the instruments of the orchestra, sing in a choir, and appreciate many genres of music. Abreu said that “music has to be recognized as an agent of social development, in the highest sense because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community, and to express sublime feelings.”

Sistema-inspired programs are now delivered to about 1 million children in over 60 countries around the world. Music has long been recognized as an important tool in cognitive development and evaluations of existing Sistema-inspired programs have reported numerous positive outcomes associated with participation in the program. In New Brunswick and Scotland, for example, many of the participants, their families, and the schools in which the programs take place have reported positive changes.


  • exhibit more respect
  • exhibit improved behavior
  • are happier
  • are more willing to concentrate
  • made new friends
  • feel an increased sense of belonging to the community
  • are doing better than most in school



  • report improved relationships at home, wider social networks and more shared activities between parents and children
  • see a more positive, aspirational future for their children
  • see a sense of pride in their children in what they have and will go on to achieve in their lives


Schools where programs are delivered report that participants exhibit:

  • improved concentration
  • enhanced social skills
  • increased happiness and more confidence
  • increased sense of belonging to the school