El Sistema, a social music education idea originating from Venezuela, has been active in
Vantaa, Finland since 2009. Tempo Orchestra is the central tool for targeting musical
and social goals. They include mutual partnerships between children of diverse
backgrounds, as well as a good and meaningful life.
This study examines the experiences gained in Sistema Finland’s Vantaa’s Tempo
Orchestra. The study is current and important as it explores “Finnish Model”-like, lowthreshold
goal-oriented leisure activities. In addition, the study provides information
about the school system as a holistic and supportive context for pupils at increased
marginalization risk. Sistema Finland’s activities are supported by strong socio-cultural
animation. This study examines the realization of sociocultural animation through
participants’ experiences.
The research question is: What experiences have Sistema Finland’s Tempo Orchestra
participants had in the Finnish school context? We used theme interviews with a
retrospective approach as the research method. It was carried out one-on-one and in
groups (N=21, 11–16 years old). The data content analysis was undertaken using a
phenomenological approach, abductively based on both data and theory.
The results were mostly positive. The action brought enriching elements to the growth
and development of participants. The realization of the more profound goals of
sociocultural animation could also be found in some of the experiences of interviewees.
One clear developmental task is to ensure continuity of operations more broadly for both
the whole group and for individuals. According to this study, Finland’s El Sistema is
music education which functions well when properly funded. Based on this research it
seems to suit Finnish society when carried out with “Finnish Model” of pursuits.
Keywords: social music education, El Sistema Finland, sociocultural animation,