Youth, Music and Social Change: Building the Evidence Base with Kidznotes and El Sistema USA (2019-2020)

This Bass Connections project team built on the work of the 2018-2019 team. Each team member was assigned to an El-Sistema inspired program at the start of the project. El Sistema is an evidence-based system of music education for social change. Founded in Venezuela in 1975, El Sistema creates an environment of opportunity through the collective practice of ensemble-based instruction as a model for youth personal, social, academic and musical development. All programs seek to effect social change through music for children with the fewest resources and the greatest need.

Team members conducted phone interviews using semi-structured interview guides. They found that although each program is working to fulfill the mission of El Sistema, all of them need their own evaluation model and design based off their unique structure and stage of development.


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Team Outputs

Impact of Music Education on Young Students (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

Youth, Music and Social Change (poster by Saba Ali, Alexi Braun, Justin Kim, Samantha Streit, Sarah Yu)

Jessica Sperling, Victoria K. Lee, Lorrie Schmid, Megan Gray, Jee Young Kim. A Randomized Study of El Sistema-Inspired Youth Music Education Programming: Evidence Addressing Executive Function and Social–Emotional Learning. 2023. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

This Team in the News

New Partnership Amplifies Diverse, Female Voices

Meet the Members of the 2019-2020 Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. See related teams, Defining Social Change through Music with El Sistema USA (2020-2021) and Music for Social Change: Research in Practice with Kidznotes and El Sistema USA (2018-2019).

El Sistema and Kidznotes logos.

Team Leaders

  • Megan Gray, Social Science Research Institute
  • Jessica Sperling Smokoski, Social Science Research Institute
  • Kathryn Wyatt, Arts & Sciences-Music
  • Josh deVries, El Sistema USA

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Saba Ali, Chemistry (AB)
  • Alexi Braun, Psychology (AB)
  • Justin Kim, Psychology (BS)
  • Yilu Lu, Economics (BS)
  • Samantha Streit, Theater Studies (AB)
  • Sarah Yu, Visual and Media Studies (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Victoria Lee, Social Science Research Institute
  • Menna Mburi, Social Science Research Institute
  • Lorrie Schmid, Social Science Research Institute

/zcommunity Team Members

  • El Sistema USA
  • Todd Krueger, Kidznotes
  • Nick Malinowski, Kidznotes