Changing Lives: El Sistema’s Transformative Power of Music


A music education program has changed the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children in Venezuela and is in Philadelphia. Curtis graduate STANFORD THOMPSON, the Executive Director of Play On, Philly!, uses this after-school Venezuelan program, “El Sistema,” to teach classical music to students at West Philly’s St. Francis de Sales Catholic Elementary School. He says, “By making this investment in children to acquire high-level executive functioning skills, they will soon pay back society through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.” Thompson will be joined by JAMIE BERNSTEIN, who is working on a documentary about the method; and TRICIA TUNSTALL, the author of the book, Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and The Transformative Power of Music.

Photo Credit: / Steven Krull Photography

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal