Sistema is a social intervention programme working in many countries based on the El Sistema model, initiated in Venezuela in 1975. The programme uses music as a vehicle for social transformation by assisting the students involved to improve their educational and social outcomes.
Sistema Aotearoa is a pilot programme operating in Otara to provide children and young people from low socio-economic groups with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and play in an orchestra with no tuition fee attached. Through group-based musical pedagogy, Sistema Aotearoa aims to improve outcomes for the participants, their families and the wider community.
Sistema Aotearoa has been running since April 2011 with the support of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. While Creative New Zealand is providing core funding for the pilot until June 2017, 30 per cent of Sistema Aotearoa’s total revenue was raised from other sources in 2015.
In 2015, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage commissioned, in collaboration with the Philharmonia, an evaluation of the Sistema Aotearoa pilot programme. This evaluation set-out to answer the following two questions:
In what ways, and to what extent is Sistema contributing to outcomes of value (educational, relational and social) for children?
In what ways, and to what extent is Sistema contributing to outcomes of value for aiga/whānau?
The evidence in the evaluation of Sistema Aotearoa suggests that this pilot programme is likely to be contributing to the achievement of positive outcomes in many areas, both for participating children and for their wider aiga/whānau.
While this evaluation focussed on children attending the pilot programme two to three times a week after school and in the school holidays, during the past five years a much greater number have been involved in less-intensive Sistema Aotearoa programmes at both school and preschool-age level.
The purpose of this report is to discuss the outcomes that children and their aiga/whānau are achieving in the Sistema Aotearoa programme.