"I don't know where Norman gets the idea that in the international networks practicing a Sistema-inspired approach, there is something like a dogma. There is none. Rather, there is an approach: combining inclusiveness - aiming to be specially accessible - with high frequency and a social learning environment.
So let's say - as a typical European example - a group of children that can't normally benefit from music education due to financial, cultural or infrastructural barriers meets on two afternoons and on Saturday morning each week for a total of seven hours and learns to play music together in smaller and bigger groups. These three elements, combined, are not commonly practiced in Western music education systems and therefore offer an interesting alternative approach, that in my experience as a music educator, is worth studying and exploring.
This approach doesn't have to, but can, lead to impressive results such as this performance of an orchestra of Sistema-inspired program Superar in Vienna:
These young musicians have, at the point of the video, only played their instruments for two years and two months and the type of inspiration and musical intensity they display and enjoy has a lot to do with the specific music pedagogical approach that they and their dedicated team of teachers (orchestra director: Bruno Campo, string teachers: Ivana Cirrincione, Christoph Mallinger, Barbara Danzer, Alicia Edelmayer) practice weekly.
I'm active in the European umbrella organization Sistema Europe and am delighted at the many programs that have started in the last few years in many European countries. I also find the level of variety, discourse and critical reflection high and have not at all the impression of anything resembling Starbuck's franchise structure.
The combination of inclusiveness, high frequency and a social learning environment would not necessarily have to be linked to El Sistema - after all they are simply ideas. Why do many programs still refer to what they do as Sistema-inspired? Quite simply because by far most impulses in this particular approach to music education come from the 40 years that El Sistema has been active. Credit where credit is due."