History and Purpose of the Paper Orchestra in El Sistema
The idea for paper orchestra came from Josbel Puche at Nucleo La Rinconada, one of the premier early child music centers in Venezuela’s El Sistema network. Ms. Puche began teaching her students on paper instruments at a time when real instruments were not available, but she quickly realized that paper orchestra could be a powerful pedagogical tool, as well as a way to bring a community together.
Students participate in paper orchestra as a precursor to symphonic orchestra. Using paper instruments, children develop fundamentals of instrument position, build musicality through singing and movement, and practice the routines and norms of orchestra rehearsal.
Paper Orchestra at MLYO
Ensemble based instrumental music education at the Mary Lyon Youth Orchestra begins in grade three with daily after school youth music programming. All students also participate in general music classes during the school day. Second graders participate in a four week paper orchestra unit as an introduction to instrumental music classes, which they can choose to participate in the following school year.