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Certificate in Music for Social Change

Music is a powerful force is in the lives of individuals all over the world: encouraging creativity, inspiring collaboration, bridging gaps, and breaking down barriers. For children, learning to play an instrument can be a source of pride, accomplishment, joy, and fun that leads to the development of excelling in all kinds of education and self-esteem that is necessary to reach for any dream.

El Sistema is a proven model of teaching music to children in a way that not only creates great musicians but can also propel kids to achieve great success in all areas. Developed in Venezuela to provide free musical education to the poorest children, this method also involves parents and communities in creating safe, loving environments that encourage growth and confidence.

While it is gaining popularity in the United States and around the world, few programs are available for training teachers in the El Sistema method. The School of Music at North Park University is offering the first undergraduate certificate in the country, which has evolved from an ongoing collaboration with the People’s Music School. Students majoring in music can add this certificate to their degree program to expand their knowledge and experience of the El Sistema philosophy of music instruction. Focused on teaching youth to use bowed stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass), the School of Music and the People’s Music School offer hands-on internship experience in Chicago-area youth orchestras as well as the opportunity to learn from El Sistema instructors.

Why Choose North Park?

Grounded in a mission of preparing students for lives of significance and service, North Park’s commitment to an education that considers faith, the urban setting, and inter-cultural learning is a perfect backdrop to a certificate in music for social change. You’ll receive an excellent musical education: personalized advising, expert teaching and coaching from professional musicians, and a close-knit community of faculty and students who want to see you succeed. Four undergraduate music degree programs—with options for specializing in a variety of disciplines—offer options for every music student. You’ll build relationships and gain valuable performance experience in our variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles that include classical groups, jazz options, and an energetic gospel choir.

Certificate Requirements

To earn a certificate in music for social change, you must be a music major (any of the degree options) who plays a stringed instrument and complete the following eight semester hours of coursework and internship credits:

  • El Sistema course (history of the movement; 1 sh)
  • String methods courses (2 sh)
    • Applied Methods: Strings and Pedagogical Methods: Strings
    • or String Pedagogy and Literature II
  • Youth Orchestra Techniques (2 sh)
  • Internship in music in an El sistema-inspired setting (1 sh per semester; 3 sh total)

Meet the Faculty

Tom Zelle, Music professor

Dr. Tom Zelle, professor of music and director of orchestral studies, has been integral in connecting North Park students with local youth orchestras where they can gain experience in El Sistema-inspired methods.

Learn more about Dr. Zelle.

Music for Social Change