If pressed to answer the question “Why Sistema?”, I think there are only two legitimate answers
Sistema programs are a declaration of different aspirations, of different values, of a different vision for society
the nature of advocacy: not changing what people say, but what people do. The image of the bureaucrat gleefully snatching violins out of the hands of infants is a myth. Treating public officials, or those who just don't get it, with scorn and derision invites a similar degree of disrespect and disregard in return
Until education is viewed as the acquisition of multiple literacies for life-long learning rather than the timely regurgitation of factoids for standardized testing, music can’t compete in the educational sphere
It is admittedly very difficult to envision music education as a whole, let alone Sistema, being embraced in some extremely conservative fiscal and philosophical environments – but not impossible. But as England has demonstrated, being reasonable, realistic and respectful has paid dividends.
Canadian núcleos are some of the oldest in North America; Canadian universities have hosted the first academic conferences related to el Sistema; a national foundation presented the Símon Bolívar Orchestra in its largest venue to date and formally honoured Maestro Abreu's achievements in 2008; and a Canadian youth orchestra has set the current gold standard internationally in advocating for and securing major government funding.
In an era of great social challenge, music educators and professional musicians have by and large been relegated to the sidelines, lacking not the will but the knowledge of how to help as society has bled out in front of them.