Reviews

The music book of our times. – Randall Everett Allsup, Teachers College, Columbia University

Baker’s book is a bold and insightful exploration of El Sistema. The El Sistema lobby is powerful throughout the world and will not take kindly to his thesis. However, his words need to be heard and acted on seriously and conscientiously by policy makers. Baker’s book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in arts and music education, policy and practice. It is uncomfortable reading. But the clarity of his historical, political, cultural and pedagogical analysis is insightful throughout. I highly recommend it to you. – Jonathan Savage, Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University

Geoffrey Baker has done real service to all of us who think about issues of music education, and indeed of education, far beyond the ES project. In the current neoliberal context, we need such critiques to keep us on our toes and, ultimately, to help us care for our children. – Felicity Laurence, Newcastle University

I highly recommend Geoffrey Baker’s book to you. You do not need to agree with him, but you will learn some interesting lessons about music education from reading it. Every library should have a copy. – Roberta Lamb, Queen’s University

El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth is an important contribution to music education literature. Baker’s findings may provoke, but they also illuminate in dazzling complexity the disconnects and conflicts that can evolve between power, discipline, and education, opportunity and aspiration, claims and experience, advocacy and evidence, politics and culture, social benefit and musical excellence. These are essential considerations for any organisation wanting to ensure both the best interests of the young participants and the sustained longevity of the program. Critical scrutiny can be uncomfortable, but if it provokes greater reflection and internal rigour, then this is a good and welcome outcome for all – leaders, organisers, teachers, musicians, and most of all, the young participants and their right to reach their full potential. – Gillian Howell (musician, educator, and scholar)

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