Classical music no longer exists only in concert halls and conservatories — it has become a powerful agent of social change, inspiring children, families, and communities to realize their potential and break the cycle of poverty.


The powerful message of El Sistema, Venezuela’s revolutionary music education program, is spreading across the United States and igniting a movement that engages thousands of children and families in music making and community building. To support this pioneering field, BARD COLLEGE, the LONGY SCHOOL OF MUSIC OF BARD COLLEGE, and the LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC have formed TAKE A STAND, an innovative national initiative that supports social change through music. Together, we seek to change the face of music education in the United States.


Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program

Leveraging Bard's experience in developing renowned academic and socially based training programs with Longy's role as a leader in progressive training for performing and teaching musicians, the MAT’s 12-month degree program is housed on the grounds of the YOLA at HOLA site in Los Angeles. To learn more, e-mail

Now accepting applications!

National Take a Stand Festival

A three-year project that will culminate in a national youth orchestra from El Sistema-inspired programs across the country. To learn more, click here.

Annual Conferences

Uniting El Sistema-inspired programs from around the world for field-wide learning. To learn more about the annual Symposia, click here.

Music is a fundamental human right.


Gustavo Dudamel
Music Director,
Los Angeles Philharmonic