Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic


Our inbox is flooded with news of how COVID-19 is affecting the global El Sistema community, so we are sending this special edition of The Ensemble Newsletters as a source of connection and support for all of you. We at Longy are committed to supporting our local community partners and the larger El Sistema community during this time of need, with virtual teaching and assistance with instructional design for online learning. We are preparing a pilot program where our graduate (conservatory) students can be practice buddies with young people in El Sistema programs through individual and small-group virtual lessons. Our spring break was extended by a week—students are now away until March 30—so stay tuned for more information in the coming days. If you would like to learn more about how we can support your program, contact our Associate Editor, Ryan Welsh.

Below you will find news, resources, and ways that the global arts community is rallying to provide joy, beauty, and comfort in these uncertain times. We will continue to share these online via The World Ensemble FaceBook page. Share your news with us and with your fellow readers there, along with what’s inspiring you and keeping you engaged with your music, students, friends, and neighbors.

Resources for Sites

El Sistema USA is hosting a live presentation and discussion titled, “Fundraising and Grantwriting – Raising Money in Times of Crisis!” on Friday, March 20, 12:00-2:45PM. The first half of the session will focus on organizations raising $250k or less, and the second half will focus on organizations raising $251k or more annually. Be sure to register in advance via Zoom and check out their resource library.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has created a Facebook group for educators to share tools and resources for finishing out the semester via distance-learning.

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence team is offering a webinar on managing anxiety in the face of COVID-19. One session is already full, but you can find their summary here. YCEI also offers free e-learning resources for educators.

Based at New York Univ ersi ty, MusEDLab offers a host of ingenious, intuitive games—like Groove Pizza, which uses math and shapes to create music!

New York Philharmonic Digital Archives offers a comprehensive collection of scores, programs, and documents that provide endless fascination for music buffs—in particular web features like this one about those who have narrated Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait over the years.

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable for arts education professionals has created a COVID-19 Arts in Education Forum to talk about how the virus is impacting the work we do and to share resources and ideas.

NAMM is providing a free online workshop, Bridging the Gap: Teaching and Learning Music Online, which will be available as a recording with materials.

The Association of Teaching Artists has made available a webinar recording that focuses on the many ways COVID-19 has affected the life and work of teaching artists and arts programs. The Association also encourages readers to watch all of their social media channels, where organizations are sharing resources multiple times a day. Check back through the feeds for many things that have already been posted: FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Starting March 18, the Global Leaders Program is launching a semiweekly task force discussion that brings together a diverse group of music educators, social entrepreneurs, GLP faculty, fieldwork partners, cohort members, and alumni. This group will relay firsthand experiences and sector-specific advice for organizations coping with the impact of COVID-19 on local communities, schools, and social services.

GLP is also initiating a freely available live webinar series beginning March 24. It is designed to support music educators and music entrepreneurs around the world who are out of work, helping them continue learning and honing professional skills in the weeks and months ahead.

Most U.S. Sistema programs are launching creative ways to engage with students through the internet. Here are two good examples of a new website from Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program in Boston with eight different orchestra portals. And here is how students are welcomed into the virtual workspace at New York’s WHIN Program.

You have seen the many eager offers of free concerts, free ways to enjoy music in this disrupted time. In a time of stress, this makes more sense than you may realize—a new study from the British Academy of Sound Therapy finds that music takes 13 minutes to ‘release sadness’ and 9 minutes to make you happy. Read about it here, and investigate the research here.

Global Citizen has launched Together at Home to support the World Health Organization’s efforts to bring people together to feel less lonely. Each day a new artist brings their talents live to social media — they’ll take requests, talk about their process, sing some of their classics.

Many of our El Sistema colleagues are active chamber musicians. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Chamber Music America (CMA) is offering “Pay What You Can” memberships for one year. CMA has also gathered information about the many emergency resources available to artists at this time of need.