Report recognises success of Sistema Aotearoa

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) has welcomed the findings of a report evaluating the success of Sistema Aotearoa, which suggests that the pilot programme in Otara is likely to be contributing to the achievement of positive outcomes, both for participating children and for their wider aiga/whānau.

The report, prepared by The Knowledge Institute Ltd, was commissioned in 2015 by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage in collaboration with the APO, and investigated the ways the Sistema programme contributes to the educational, relational and social outcomes for children and their families.

The evaluation focussed primarily on children attending the pilot programme two to three times a week after school and during school holidays, but also acknowledged that Sistema Aotearoa reaches a much greater number of children through additional programmes at both school and preschool-age level.

An analysis of educational achievement data from four participating schools identified that students participating in Sistema Aotearoa have a significantly higher educational achievement in both reading and mathematics than those not participating in the programme. The report also noted that Sistema Aotearoa appears to contribute to the levels of involvement parents have in their children’s learning. In addition, the report suggests Sistema Aotearoa directly contributes to student outcomes including the development of confidence and leadership; perseverance and self-discipline; connection with and competency in music; and engendering a vision for the future.

APO Chief Executive Barbara Glaser said she was pleased the report confirmed anecdotal evidence about the programme. “The Knowledge Institute report is excellent news and confirms what we’ve observed in these children; that music enriches their lives and contributes positively to the wider Otara community. Sistema Aotearoa has grown at an incredible rate, and we are delighted to see the programme become a leader for Sistema-based tuition in other parts of New Zealand.”

Launched in Otara in 2011, Sistema Aotearoa is a system of musical tuition based on El Sistema, one of the world’s most successful music and social development projects. The programme uses music as a vehicle for social transformation by assisting the students involved to improve their educational and social outcomes. The students are drawn from seven primary schools, all within walking distance of the Otara Music Arts Centre (OMAC). The high-quality music tuition for no fee is part of the Sistema philosophy of little to no cost – and therefore no economic barriers – to musical participation. Instruments are provided free of charge, as is the tuition, which is provided by professional musicians and music teachers. In 2016 more than 300 children in the Otara community will receive music tuition.

The full report can be viewed at

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