Sulamot - Music for Social Change




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SULAMOT– Music for Social Change - is an innovative and inspirational music education program for at-risk children. Sulamot focuses primarily on children with the least resources and greatest needs in peripheral areas and underprivileged communities. Sulamot was created as a joint program with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Tel Aviv University in October 2010. The mission of Sulamot is to promote music as a fundamental tool for the education of new generations and as a mean of social development. The program was inspired by “El Sistema”, the international award-winning project in Venezuela, funded by the government, wherein hundreds of thousands of children, mainly from poor socio-economic backgrounds, are taught by music teachers throughout the country.

The State of Israel has always been inspired by its human resources. The Israeli child is our country’s most valuable natural resource and therefore nurturing him or her as a thinking, creative and industrious citizen is our most important and challenging goal. A child who spends years learning to play a musical instrument is also learning how to create beauty and as an adult will strive to live in a good and well-cared for environment, willing to invest the effort required to achieve it.


Three orchestral programs were launched in October 2010: in Neve Michael - a children’s village for those who had been separated from their parents by court order, a youth hostel in Yavne and in an elementary school in Migdal Haemek. 150 children began learning to play an orchestral instrument and play in an orchestra. The success of the program created a demand for more projects, and today Sulamot has 18 orchestras throughout the country. More than 1,000 children play in symphonic orchestras, bands, percussion ensembles and in a special program for blind children.




The structure of Sulamot


SULAMOT- Music for Social Change, was inspired by the "El Sistema", but adapted to suit Israel, and our particular issues. Instead of creating a new organization, we have chosen to create Sulamot as a collaboration between various existing organizations that have a long-standing history of excellence in their respective fields:

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), Israel’s foremost musical ambassador, which consist of Israel's leading instrumental players. Players from the IPO visit the projects and play for and work with the children. The children are also invited to attend concerts of the IPO at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv University. The Buchman Mehta School of Music trains the young teachers who teach in the program, and the Bob Shapell School of Social Work gives the teachers support and  guidance and conducts a research to evaluate the progress of the children in Sulamot.
Every child who plays must also learn how to practice, starting from the first note. The challenge was to help the child practice (many of whom have learning disabilities) keeping within budget. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has a special Unit for Outstanding Musicians. We were able to convince the IDF to “lend” us soldiers from this unit, who meet with the children three times a week and help them practice. In this way, we receive well trained personnel, which is young and highly motivated, with no effect on the program’s budget.





Here are some of the highlights of Sulamot activity



On December 19th 2013, six-hundred Sulamot children met with Maestro Zubin Mehta at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium. This event was, undoubtedly, the crowning moment of Sulamot’s activity in the past four years. The children were all very excited and practiced enthusiastically in anticipation of meeting Maestro Mehta. The string orchestras played Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the 9th symphony, and the wind orchestras played Ha'Tikva. In addition, four young soloists were chosen to play for the Maestro. Please click on the link below to hear the children playing for and with Maestro Mehta.

Click on the video below to watch the movie about the event:


Click on the video below to watch a short film KH-UIA about Sulamot:





At a day care center in Yavne is a child who plays the French horn in Sulamot. He is particularly short and under-developed for his age, but we slowly realized that he was the charismatic leader of the children’s center. The children listened to everything he said without question. At the beginning of the second year of our activity in the center, he decided that the children would not go to lessons or play in the orchestra. Everyone obeyed him and refused to play for two weeks.

If you look at an orchestra, it is clear that a child like this can best express his special personality from one place only: the podium!

We decided to transform this negative role model into a positive one. He received conducting lessons and was invited to conduct the orchestra’s rehearsal. From that moment on, it was important to him that all the children go to lessons and learn how to play well! Needless to say, the children complied and we broke the ice. At the first rehearsal he was asked to conduct the national anthem. He stood on a chair in order that the orchestra players would be able to see him, and proved he was a born leader, conducting the orchestra beautifully. The music of the anthem moved him and tears rolled down his face as he conducted. That same boy later conducted the orchestra playing the national anthem for the President of Israel, Shimon Peres at the Presidential Conference!



Click on the link below and go to Minute #65 to watch the children play Ha-Tikvah :







Sulamot Program for Blind and Visually Impaired Children


When one enters the Karem al Saheb School in Nazareth, the first question that comes to mind is: Where are all of the colorful decorations that typically brighten elementary schools’ walls? But then, thinking about it, one quickly realizes that there is no point in decorating this school. All of its students are blind. Entering the world of the blind and visually impaired is a startling experience. We all see the world differently. However, we are not used to seeing nothing at all…

The program for blind and visually impaired children was a great challenge for us this past year. Nonetheless, it was very exciting and rewarding endeavor. Through our program, thirty-four children across Israel were taught to play musical instruments, each child succeeding beyond all expectation. Blind children have exceptional hearing and are accustomed to overcoming challenges on a daily basis. As such, playing music is a novelty and a pleasure.

We initiated this program with humanitarian and moral objectives in mind. Yet, we never anticipated how incredibly rewarding the program would be for the children. Most of the time, these children have no recreational activities; they have nothing to do. Through this program, their lives have suddenly been turned around. The children spend hours learning to play their instruments. Their hard work pays off when they perform for audiences and are applauded for their amazing accomplishments!



At the end of the Karem al Saheb School’s final concert this school year, Royam’s mother approached us. She said: “My daughter cannot help me at home, she cannot play with her siblings; she cannot watch TV. But, since she began playing the piano – she has something to do!” Royam is handicapped and will spend her life in a wheelchair, and she is blind.

Born without eyes, Crisel was abandoned on the street by her mother. Fortunately, a kind woman found her and decided to raise her as her own. Crisel is a beautiful, multi-talented girl. She is fluent in three languages and sings wonderfully. We assigned Crisel to study harp with Ruth Maayani, a senior teacher at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. As she is blind and cannot read music, Crisel studies pieces by ear, listening to recordings and learning them by heart.




The steering committee of Sulamot
Mrs. Anette Bollag – Rothschild – Chairman
Joshua Pasternak –Chairman of IPO
Yoel Abadi-IPO
Avi Shoshani- Secretary General
Tali Gottlieb- Executive Director of IPO Foundation
Prof. Tamie Ronen – Dean of Social Sciences – TAU
Sarah Elbaz- Director of Sulamot- Music for Social Change 


Our partners and supporters

Contact information:
Director of Sulamot- Music for Social Change:  Sarah Elbaz
Tel : +972-3-6211728






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