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

Creating Collaborative Pathways for Expanded Support of CYD


As The Lewis Prize enters a new phase, we are taking the learnings from our grant process, field relationships, and research to create a platform for expanded investment in creative youth development. We’ve designed the Creating Abundance Collaborative, a cross-sector space where practitioners, young people, researchers, philanthropists, and policymakers come together to advance the field through shared learning and pooled resources.

Growing AIM’s Firebird Fellowship into an Alumni Program


“Your alumni will become your best assets for your mission.” That’s what social entrepreneurs from Changemaker Fellowships told AIM’s leadership when we began in 2018. So far, we agree. 

Music, Theater, and Collaboration: Creating Common Languages for Joy


Seenaryo has been creating collaborative and imaginative community theater in Lebanon since 2015. We started working in Jordan in 2018, and we ran our first training in Palestine in 2022. While Seenaryo is first and foremost a theater organization, music has always played a big part in what we do.

At Manzil Mystics, Ancient Language Offers Timeless Truth


There are not many music programs in the world with the word “Mystics” in their name. But it serves us well. Like many Ensemble readers, we are a passionate group of musicians working toward creating social inclusion and happy childhoods through music. And we find inspiration in the all-inclusive and peaceful messages of mystic poets like Kabir Das and Mahatma Gandhi.

Journeying to New Communities through Cinema


On May 14, 2017, we were on our way to Tinglayan, Kalinga in the Northern Philippines to screen films and teach filmmaking to young people—a five-hour drive from our base in Tuguegarao City. It had been five months and three film workshops since we’d founded the North Luzon Cinema Guild; Tinglayan Film Camp was our first collaboration with an Indigenous community.

While we were driving downhill on the foot of the Cordillera Mountains, the brake pads of our yellow 1999 Toyota Fun Cargo gave out. As we careened down the mountain, an old bus headed uphill came into view. Seeing it was going to be tight, we angled our car toward the side of the road…and kept rolling…

Curation, Not Composition: Strategies for Healthy Collaboration in the Classroom


It was during a choir rehearsal, at age nine, that I decided to become a composer. Choir was an oasis of joy in an otherwise difficult school experience; I simply lived for each opportunity to sing. Since then, it’s been my joy to witness, time and time again, music’s transformative power in community—never more so than in communities of singers, and never more powerfully than when those singers are empowered to compose their own songs.

Exploring Music Therapy in Rwanda with Musicians Without Borders


Music therapy for hearing-impaired people? I’ve been a musician for 20 years, and I am currently a third-year trainee music therapist studying at the University of the West of England in Bristol. But I never really knew how impactful music can be for children who are deaf or have hearing impairments until I had the opportunity to accept a professional placement with Rwanda Youth Music in Kigali, Rwanda.

Beirut Chants Turns to El Sistema


It was not a promising time to be learning or teaching music in Lebanon. The Lebanese pound had depreciated by over 90%, making music lessons a luxury that few could afford. The National Conservatory of Music was mostly non-operational; schools had stopped music classes for lack of funding, and our country’s youth had no means to advance their musical education. In this challenging environment, Father Maatouk turned to the El Sistema model.

Shifting Perspectives: Music Education and Disability


When people see children with disabilities actively participating in musical activities, their attitudes can shift drastically. This mental shift is incredibly beneficial for these children, who thrive when they are supported by individuals who believe in their capabilities. In this way, music programs are a connector, educating both children with disabilities and those around them, who learn to celebrate their potential.

Action Research in the Western Balkans: Music and Social Reconciliation


Can bringing young people from different cultures together, through arts-related experiences, help to promote understanding, communication, and peace building?

This is a question on the minds of many people working in the global field of arts for social change. Over the past few years, my program, The House of Good Tones in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has partnered with two other Balkan programs (SO-DO, in Zagreb, Croatia, and the Music Art Project, in Belgrade, Serbia) on a research project designed to explore this question—a particularly important question in our part of the world.


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