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

Background

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. Through eliminating barriers for students who experience them at the highest levels, these programs work alongside students, families and community partners to provide access to the benefits of high-quality music education.

This movement is present in the U.S. and locally in the Triangle. El Sistema USA (ESUSA), the national alliance of programs inspired by El Sistema, has over 110 member organizations in 34 states. Kidznotes, an El Sistema-inspired program launched in 2010 in East Durham, serves 500 students annually in grades K-10 throughout Durham and Southeast Raleigh.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project builds on the work of the 2018-2019 project team. This year’s team will conduct research with Kidznotes to further develop the pilot study. An El Sistema-inspired program launched in 2010 in East Durham, Kidznotes serves 500 students annually in grades K-10 throughout Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. This team’s work will include a primary focus on understanding effects on parents and a secondary focus on understanding effects on youth participants.

The project team will also use case studies of El Sistema-inspired programs nationally, combined with findings from the Kidznotes research in 2018-2019, to build the research and evaluation capacities of other members of the ESUSA network. Kidznotes will serve as the focal implementation site for research and evaluation efforts. Team members will participate in implementing data collection processes for assessing the impact of Kidznotes programming for parents, as well as parent reporting on their children’s Kidznotes-based outcomes.

Through case studies of and engagement with ESUSA member organizations across the country, team members will explore the feasibility of making parent data collection instruments used at Kidznotes available to select other El Sistema program sites. In addition, the team will develop mechanisms to make research findings on El Sistema program outcomes accessible and comprehensible to ESUSA member organizations’ leadership, staff and family participants.

Anticipated Outputs

Conference presentation and publication; case study documentation; data collection processes and instruments for ESUSA member organizations; “Research for All” materials published on ESUSA website and presented at ESUSA national conference; data for future grant proposals

Timing

Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Fall 2019: Instruction on core topical areas related to project/partners (for undergraduates); “Research for All” creation and public dissemination; ESUSA case studies; baseline parent- and youth-level data collection; student in-class presentations
  • Spring 2020: Continued instruction on core topical areas related to project/partners (for undergraduates); ESUSA case studies; end-of-year parent- and youth-level data collection; student in-class presentations

This Team in the News

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

See earlier related team, 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, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
  • Alexi Braun
  • Justin Kim
  • Yilu Lu, Economics (BS)
  • Samantha Streit
  • Sarah Yu

/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
  • Nick Malinowski, Kidznotes
  • Stephen Pysnik, Kidznotes