An acclaimed music program for children that began decades ago in Venezuela is taking root in Canada.

El Sistema was started by economist, politician, educator and musician Jose Antonio Abreu to help Venezuelan children escape poverty and violence.

One of the system’s most prominent graduates is superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel, now music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He got his start with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in his native Venezuela.

In 2009, the Glenn Gould Foundation presented Abreu the Glenn Gould Prize and, at a conference in Toronto, he spoke to music educators about why the system works.

Now, several Sistema music programs are operating in Canada, including one in Toronto that started last fall.

CBC-TV's Deana Sumanac and CBC Radio's Margo Kelly checked in on the progress of El Sistema's young Canadian students.