Sonidos de la Tierra

Conservatory on Wheels Project





Grade Level of Students Participating

Grade 1 to Adults, but mostly adolescents

Number of Students Participating per Year

1,285 students have participated per year since 2002; 18,000 children and youth have received music and civic education; 2,000 adults have been trained in community development. 

Year Organization Began


Relationship to the public education system

Work independently, although some community members are in the school system.

Organization’s Vision and Mission

To work for sustainable human development and the construction of citizenship; promote innovative ways to strengthen the capacity to learn; and organize people and communities seeking to improve their living conditions.

Brief Description of Program Activities

Sonidos de la Tierra creates social capital through the running of orchestras as schools for life. The Conservatory on Wheels project was born out of the necessity of creating an active civil society in a country that was coming out of long dictatorship with extremely deteriorated human values. 

The program touches the roots of poverty, the low level of formal education, and the high incidence of corruption by motivating children and youth to do better in school and complete their educations; by providing adults (who generally do not have much formal education themselves) the organizational and fundraising skills they need to create more opportunities in their communities. 

The innovative Conservatory on Wheels methodology has allowed the program to be present in 16 of the 17 departments (districts) of Paraguay, and its multiplier effect to the project winning several awards. 

The curriculum is delivered on weekends as musicians travel to country villages to deliver 4 hours lessons at each community. 

The location varies all over the country. Program durations vary, but communities grow into independent ecosystems that run the programs on their own eventually.

Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies

Discipline, democratic attitudes, honesty, solidarity, tolerance and respect, confidence and self-esteem.

Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies

Teamwork and cooperation.

Program Content: Cognitive Competencies

Students develop the skills to read and interpret music as well as reasoning, concentration, and analytical skills.

Program Content: Attitudes and Values

To value community and individual empowerment.

Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students

The program engages students through music and active learning. Students start with playing games, or songs that are easier to “play by ear”. Students play different instruments and rehearse as part of an orchestra. The program is also connected to real life issues such as environment conservation in creative ways. For example, students are asked to design musical instrument using recycled materials.

Reference List

1All information on this table come from the Sonidos de la Tierra ’s website and from a phone interview with Andrea Burt, Institutional Relations Director that took place in June 2016.

2Program description from 2016 WISE Awards:

Prepared by

Vincent Chunhao Qian