El Sistema Colorado partners with three Denver Public School sites to support and enhance in-school music education and provide afterschool and summer music programming as mechanisms to drive student success.
Garden Place Academy & Swansea Elementary: Our in-school programs serve Early Childhood Education (ECE), Kindergarten and 1st grade students, and the curriculum includes general music education as well as instrumental music training. The instructional responsibilities are shared between the school educators and an El Sistema Colorado Teaching Artist. Following a distinctive El Sistema practice, Kindergarteners start out on paper violins made out of cardboard and papier mache, mastering basics of the instrument, and then graduate to real violins.
Our afterschool programs serve 2nd through 5th graders, Monday through Thursday. Students spend time in small group instrumental and choral sectionals as well as large ensemble orchestra and choir. Students also have healthy snacks, recess and homework time integrated in the afterschool schedule.
UPDATE 1/23: El Sistema Colorado is not currently hosting an afterschool program at Garden Place and Swansea.
Bruce Randolph Middle and High School: El Sistema Colorado helped reinstate music education at Bruce Randolph after a decade-long hiatus due to funding cuts. Instruction is provided by a Denver Public School Music Teacher who also serves as the schools’ Lead Teaching Artist and collaborates with a staff of other Teaching Artists. In-school program provides multiple levels of band instruction for both middle and high school students. Afterschool opportunities include drumline practice and the Middle School Hub for 6th through 9th graders (including Garden Place and Swansea alumni from other middle schools). The Middle School Hub replicates the success of elementary afterschool programs.
El Sistema Colorado also offers summer camps for 1st through 12th graders, performances by professional guest artists and activities to engage the whole family. All programs (including instruments, snacks, and events) are provided free of charge to partner schools and students’ families.
Frequent performance is at the heart of the El Sistema philosophy as it necessitates diligent teamwork and sparks self-confidence and dignity. Students have many opportunities to perform for their families and school as well as travel to perform out in the community. Students have performed at cultural venues such as the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the Denver Art Museum and History Colorado Center, and have supported nonprofit and educational activities such as Habitat for Humanity, Las Madrinas Tribute event of the Catholic Archdiocese, Denver Public Schools Parent Superintendent Forum and the Biennial of the Americas. El Sistema Colorado distributes free tickets to music events, in collaboration with partners such as Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Newman Center and Colorado Symphony Orchestra, providing further cultural opportunities for students and families.