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July 7-10, 2020
Los Angeles, CA

The YOLA National Symposium brings together educators, administrators, advocates, and other key stakeholders in both Sistema-inspired programs and programs similarly invested in youth and community development through music education.

Over the course of the symposium, participants from around the world share best practices, network with their peers, and explore the challenges and opportunities of empowering young people and communities through music.

The symposium will culminate in a performance of the YOLA National Festival Orchestras.

Check back for further information about registration, symposium focus, and presentation opportunities!

Questions? Email

Empowering Youth, Building Community

Important Dates

February 3

Call for proposals opens

March 1


Registration opens

Scholarship Applications open

March 16

Call for proposals closes

April 5

Scholarship Application closes

April 13 – May 4

Proposal applicants notified on a rolling basis

Scholarship recipients notified on a rolling basis

July 7


July 8 

Symposium Day 1

July 9 

Symposium Day 2

July 10 

Symposium Day 3 & YOLA National Festival Performance



Registration Fees & Schedule

Symposium Date(s) 

General Rate 

El Sistema USA Member Rate 

Single Day Rate



3 Day Symposium



3 Day Symposium + 1 Day Pre-Symposium



Sample Schedule:
8:00AM–9:30AM: Breakfast available
9:00AM–12:00PM: Morning sessions
12:00PM–1:00PM: Lunch available
1:00PM–5:00PM: Afternoon sessions 

Location and Lodging

This year’s symposium will be held in Los Angeles, CA. Check back for further information!


Core Content Areas

Youth and Community Voice

How can we bring the voice of those we serve to the center of our practice, from program design?  


How can we incorporate creativity, improvisation and composition authentically into the orchestral context, from the beginning level through our highest performing ensembles?  

Social Justice

How can we actively engage our young people in conversations about race, power, identity, and intersectionality, with a goal of developing practical tools for combatting the socio-economic forces that challenge many of the young people and families we serve? 


How can we continue to improve our ability to use the unique benefits and opportunities of intensive music instruction to drive increased socio-emotional growth in the young people we serve?  

Program Design

How do we create programs that model equity, inclusion, and a true sense of belonging in all aspects of their design and implementation?  

Professional Development

How can we provide our teaching artists and staff with the best possible training, both as teachers and as artists, as a means of improving program impact?  


How can we increase collaboration nationally and in our own communities to better leverage the unique strengths and interests of the vast network of organizations and individuals seeking positive social change through arts education?