Community Building

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

Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra: Opening Global Doors for Local Teacher Development

10-12-2020

In July 2020, I was scheduled to deliver workshops for the local teachers of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO), the first youth symphony orchestra in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. The global lockdown as a result of COVID-19 abruptly put an end to work in person, and as the world started to embrace principles of working remotely, I began to think about whether I could turn this barrier into an opportunity: if I could demonstrate that teacher development does not necessarily need intervention in person, this could become a more sustainable model for ABYSO and for other similar organizations around the world. Over the following weeks, I developed a ten-week remote teacher development program, aimed at empowering local teachers to provide an inspiring musical education for children within their own community.

Shaping Curricula to Overcome Resource Scarcity

10-07-2020

The first time I smelled tear gas, it was a January morning around 10:00 a.m. I was sitting in the car alongside Franco Toro Contreras, the Music Director at Enrique Soro Music School in Quilicura, Chile. Franco picked me up every morning from Monday through Friday at the “Zona Cero” in Santiago, ten miles from the school. Against a backdrop of political and economic upheaval, we drove every morning through the smell of tear gas that had been deployed against protesters the previous night. Despite this troubled socio-political situation—and the fact that I was teaching summer classes—I noticed that attendance never wavered throughout my time at the school.

Saved by Music Foundation: Restoring Hope and Building Trust

10-07-2020

Saved by Music Foundation is a community-based non-governmental organization located in Mbale, a city in eastern Uganda. As a former street child who was saved from the streets by music, I started the organization in 2009. Children face many challenges in our community—extreme poverty, child abuse, drug abuse, child pregnancies and marriages, lack of access to education and housing, and so much more. As a result, many children become hopeless. It is easy to fall victim to the streets, where many start using drugs or join criminal gangs, putting their lives on the line while becoming dangers to the community. It was in these circumstances that I decided to do something to help restore hope among children and youth like me.

Three New Podcasts

10-07-2020

Three new podcasts have been launched to broaden your musical perspective. First, Garrett McQueen has co-created a classical music podcast called Trilloquy with Classical MPR host Scott Blankenship. The podcast seeks to explore and uplift classical music of all cultures beyond the Western European canon. The Lewis Prize has also announced the launch news of Original Score, an Indigenous perspective on music, a new podcast produced by Navajo composer and Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP) teaching artist Michael Begay. Read more and share widely using their Announcement Toolkit. And finally, the Atlanta Music Project has launched a podcast series hosted by Cofounder and CEO Dantes Rameau. Titled The Next Movement, it features in-depth video interviews with artistic luminaries that culminate in Q & As with AMP students and faculty. Watch Episode 1 here.

Essays About Arts Leadership Posted to The Lewis Prize for Music Website

10-07-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music has expanded its website to feature essays about “Responsive and Collaborative Leadership” by its three 2020 Accelerator Awardees: Brandon Steppe, Ian Mouser, and Sebastian Ruth. The three essays give insight into these leaders’ and their programs’ focus on building trusting relationships with young people, using creativity to support youth mental health, and rethinking the Euro-centric norms of classical music to foster more egalitarian and inclusive musical practices.

Northeast Seminario Drop Party Recording

10-07-2020

From August 10–14, El Sistema USA and the Collective Conservatory partnered to host the Northeastern Seminario, this time with a special focus on blues music. Eight programs from the Northeast participated in this virtual Seminario, providing the 60 participating young musicians with many opportunities to connect and collaborate. Their week of jamming and improvising together will be presented in a live “Drop Party,” taking place Thursday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Check out ESUSA’s Facebook page for the watch link, which will be accessible after the event as well.

ArtPlace Annual Summit

10-07-2020

ArtPlace America celebrates its 10th year as a collaboration among foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that support and strengthen a field of creative placemaking—the field that increasingly uses artists in planning and developing equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. To celebrate, ArtPlace is offering its annual Summit virtually (October 26-30) and for free this year (you must register); it includes over 50 sessions, and affinity groups you can join to engage personally.

Continuing to Make Music, One Virtual Video at a Time

10-06-2020

Like programs all over the country, Make Music NOLA (MMN) was forced in March 2020 to quickly reinvent our programs for virtual learning. For our after-school students, we created weekly video lessons designed to take the place of their music theory, chamber ensemble, and fiddle classes. But these videos weren’t workable for the 100 students we reach through in-school programming—who attend several different charter schools, were doing remote learning through different systems, and, because of the abruptness of school closures, didn’t even have instruments at home.

Music as a Birthright in Elkhart County

10-06-2020

In Elkhart County, Indiana, our goal is to provide all people with equitable access to quality music education from birth to young adulthood. We believe music is a birthright for every child in our community—that the extraordinary benefits of music education should be built into the fabric of every young person’s upbringing. It’s not a coincidence that the name of our program, ECoSistema (Elkhart County El Sistema), means “ecosystem” in Spanish: we believe that the El Sistema-inspired field can have the greatest impact when we take the overlapping systems already in place in our community and build music into them.

Music to Save Humanity Announces Global Virtual Video Project

09-16-2020

Music to Save Humanity is launching an online music project in collaboration with Ballet for All Kids and the Pacific Academy Foundation Orchestra, inviting instrumentalists from all ages and levels, from beginners to professionals, to participate in an online performance of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. View their first installment here, and consider contacting them at info@musictosavehumanity.org to get involved. They are looking to extend and strengthen their network and are working on more collaborations as part of the Global Virtual Video Project. These videos will be used as outreach to communities that may not have access to the performing arts during this pandemic, including children’s hospitals, assisted living facilities, community organizations, and foundations that support the blind and disabled all around the world.

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