Posted: December 15, 2016

ELSIPOGTOG sistema project: Changing lives through the gift of music!

 View the photo gallery at http://elsipogtogschool.ca/gallery/sistema

    The innovative New Brunswick Youth Orchestra Sistema NB music program for 24 grade one and two students was initiated in October 2016, thanks to its partnership and generous funding from the First Nation Student Success Program, First Nations Children’s Futures Fund, and the Elsipogtog Band Education Division. After just one month, the program is already receiving rave reviews from students, staff, parents and community members!

 “A positive influence for the students, school and community. Self-esteem is up therefor the students and confidence building is overcoming shyness.” – Community member

 “This has to be the best thing ever to happen to these kids and my grand-daughter.” – Elder


“I think it’s super good for kid’s education for music. These kids learned a whole bunch of things about discipline. I would love to go next year. – Sibling of Sistema student

 The Sistema NB program was introduced to staff in October including the motivating video of the program’s origin in Venezuela by New Brunswick folks who saw the devastation of children who don’t believe in themselves or have no sense of belonging, Elsipogtog staff listened intently to the Sistema NB administrators’ descriptions of how the music program inspires children to achieve their full potential. Within a few weeks, parent applications were finished, 24 students were selected and daily 1-hour classes began. We only regret not all children can go!

 As these photos show, students were engaged from the onset. Yet this class was different for them – Sistema NB staff were very strict from the start, setting high standards for silence, posture, line up, bringing chairs, and appropriate behavior. Simultaneously, the teacher motivated them with constant praise and high expectations that to be a pro, they need to envision and practice being a champion. They inspired them by violin and piano performances by staff and guests. They involved them hands-on and taught respect for the instrument as the students papered and painted their cardboard violins and learned songs about the bow, parts of the violin, and musical notes.  Student are attentive, eager and dedicated, including students who need 1-1 resource support who are exhibiting calm, positive, and respectful behaviors during Sistema  NB classes.

 The impact? These photos say it all! As Sistema NB students shared their experiences with K-5 classes and beaming parents and community members at their first public appearance in late November, the audience was awestruck! Cameras flashed and illuminated wide smiles on everyone’s faces as the students exhibited their finely honed discipline to be silent while other speak, to participate in unison for songs and movement, to adopt the proper postures for playing the violin, and to respond to their violin teacher’s directions with attentive respect.

 The outcomes? Every Sistema NB student is already exhibiting growth in social emotional development: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision making. They are proud of themselves and their accomplishments as are other students, staff, parents, community members and Elders. And this is only the beginning!  One month for this much success – can you imagine the outcomes after 3 months? 1 year? 3 years? As the program continues, its impact on the Elsipogtog community will also grow and develop, greatly enhancing pride, self-directedness, and respectful citizenship for us all. Through quality class instruction & programs like Sistema NB, today’s children are becoming tomorrow’s leaders!

 We are so very grateful to FNSSP, First Nations Children’s Futures Fund and the Elsipogtog Band Education Division for bringing the amazing instructor and staff to our school – the positive impact on Elsipogtog children through the NB Youth Orchestra Sistema NB project will increase each day for months and years to come!