In Harmony (music education project)

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In Harmony is a social and music education programme based on Venezuela's El Sistema, adapted to an English context. In Harmony uses music to bring positive change to the lives of children in disadvantaged areas of England, delivering benefits across the wider community. The programme encourages participation in music – in the form of the symphony orchestra – which can have huge personal benefits for the children involved, providing opportunities to grow and develop academically, socially and musically.

British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber is the founder of In Harmony and was the Chairman of the In Harmony steering group, which was initially responsible for guiding the three pilot project in Liverpool (West Everton), London (Lambeth) and Norwich. The government commissioned Henley Review of Music Education (2011) reported that "there is no doubt that they (the In Harmony projects) have delivered life-changing experiences". Independent evaluations published in 2011 reported that the programme has a significant impact on educational attainment and community cohesion.

In July 2011, maestro José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema in Venezuela, recognised In Harmony as part of the El Sistema worldwide network. In November 2011, the British government announced it would expand In Harmony across England by extending funding from the Department for Education and adding funding from Arts Council England. In May 2012, Arts Council England announced funding for four new In Harmony projects from 2012 to 2015. In July, Arts Council England said that the new projects would be delivered in Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham and Telford & Wrekin, and that funding would also continue for In Harmony Lambeth and In Harmony Liverpool. Activities in Norwich continued as part of the independently funded Sistema in Norwich programme.

Sistema England is a charitable company, chaired by Julian Lloyd Webber, that supports El Sistema based projects across England. It has been recognised by El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu for its efforts in preserving the values and methodology of the Venezuelan programme, and it is part of the Sistema Europe working group.

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