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Abstract

El Sistema, the Venezuelan system of youth orchestras, is a program aimed at teaching and performing classical music through the development of a free network of symphony orchestras and choruses nationwide. Since its creation in 1975 by its founder José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema has given thousands of Venezuelan children, who often come from unprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds, the opportunity to receive free classical music education while promoting their personal, intellectual, spiritual, social, and professional development. The purpose of this article is to analyze El Sistema’s potential to foster leadership skills for social change. After providing an overview of the program, we will apply Astin & Astin’s social change model of leadership development to shed light on El Sistema’s capacity to foster leadership skills for social change among its young musicians.

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