News and Resources

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

24th Annual Sphinx Competition Opens

05-05-2020

The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges, and to perform with and receive mentorship from established professional musicians. The repertoire requirements for the 24th Annual Sphinx Competition have been announced and applications have opened online.

The Lewis Prize Announces COVID-19 Community Response Fund

05-05-2020

The Lewis Prize recently announced their COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which will award $1 million in grants to support youth-serving music programs in their responsive and adaptive efforts during COVID-19. Here is a toolkit that includes more information about the fund. The application process for their annual Accelerator Award will begin as soon as the Community Response grants are awarded.

Just-Launched Collective Conservatory is Bold Pandemic Response

05-05-2020

The just-launched Collective Conservatory is a bold response to the pandemic crisis. Describing it as “Immersive Online Music Education,” founder Daniel Trahey and a faculty of established teaching artists, wellness advisors, and volunteer cultural ambassadors deliver holistic, customized, music-centered programs to partner organizations over the Internet. Read this issue’s Guest Perspectives column on this page to learn more from Daniel Trahey.

Professional Development Clock Hours from NAfME

04-07-2020

Free professional development clock hours have been made available by the National Association for Music Education in response to the unprecedented cancelations of conferences and shift to online teaching. These resources, including ten webinars from NAfME Academy, 14 articles from Music Educator Journal, and Live Professional Learning Community webinar series, are peer-reviewed and specifically developed for and by music educators.

Case Study on Cultural Humility from Institute for Music Leadership

04-07-2020

Buffalo String Works in Buffalo, NY has worked with refugee students from Afghanistan, Burma, Eritrea, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Though inspired by the international El Sistema model, the organization faced plenty of cultural hurdles in working to serve the diverse population. Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership has written a case study examining the early years of BSW as it worked to adapt to the needs of the community. Read more to learn how they strived for “cultural humility” and musical excellence simultaneously—these lessons in inclusion can be applied to all programs, no matter their makeup.

Welcome Videos Provide Sense of Familiarity for Students at WHIN Music Community Charter School

04-07-2020

A sense of safety and connectedness is the foundation of successful student learning, but natural disasters can cause turmoil. The impacts of the current pandemic have upended all our familiar routines and rituals, so we must re-dedicate ourselves to these practices. New York City’s WHIN Music Community Charter School cleverly addresses the issues of familiarity and routine for their disrupted students in a video that welcomes them to their online classes.

Peace First’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants Open

04-07-2020

Have you heard good ideas from your students or young colleagues about ways they might engage in music-making with other isolated students? Now, there just might be a grant to support that idea for young people ages 13-25: Peace First’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants. Apply here.

Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Scholarship Program Opens

04-07-2020

The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Scholarship Program will award over 40 students attending a four-year college or university with scholarships from $10,000 to $25,000. Highly gifted musicians with an interest in Latin music genres are encouraged to apply. The deadline for consideration has been extended to April 13. Guidelines and application are available online.

Pro Bono Arts Management Consulting from the DeVos Institute

04-07-2020

Could your program use some high-powered consulting advice? Recognizing that U.S. arts organizations (including Sistema programs) will be hard hit economically by the current health crisis, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland (one of the nation’s leading training and consulting organizations) offers pro bono hourlong consultations for any U.S.-based non-profit arts or culture organization between March and June 2020. Contact them here.

The Awesome Music Project of Canada Raises Funds to Address Mental Health Issues

04-07-2020

The Canadian Awesome Music Project, which includes teaching artists in Sistema New Brunswick, raises funds to address mental health issues. They have created “The Awesome Music Project Canada: Songs of Hope and Happiness,” a compilation of intimate stories by Canadians from all walks of life and a tribute to the power of music to change lives. You can support their efforts here.

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