During our visits to the nucleos of Montalban and La Rinconada, I asked about this topic and was given answers specific to these two sites. One thing we are learning from our time here in Caracas is that nothing is written in stone and each nucleo is unique, so I preface by saying that this information is specific to Montalban and La Rinconada at this particular moment in time. El Sistema is flexible and continually responds to its students through a collaborative teaching process (see previous posting on this subject). Dantes and Jonathan also posted responses to Dr. Abreu's statement of "El Sistema as no system" in their blogs and both are worthwhile reading.
Recorder and Choir: Laying the Foundation
Many of the fellows wondered what the process was regarding a child's wish to switch instruments. Rodrigo Guerrero explained that El Sistema allows children to change instruments, but the decision is taken seriously. Here are the steps:
- Teacher talks with the student to find out if his or her decision is based on a physical or attitudinal change and is more than just a casual thought.
- Student and instructor discuss the reasons with the nucleo director.
- If an instrument is available, the child has a trial period with the new instrument.
- Ultimately, the goal is student engagement.