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.

Grants Aid Marginalized Populations in the U.S., East Africa, and Central America


Jewish Helping Hands’ Tikkun Olam Grant Program helps vulnerable populations across the world by supporting projects focused on economic development and social empowerment, with a particular emphasis on those demographics that have been overlooked or marginalized. Projects in the United States, East Africa, and Central America, as well as regions worldwide with impoverished Jewish populations, are given priority. Grants range up to $10,000 for projects in the U.S. and up to $5,000 for projects in other countries. Initial inquiry forms must be submitted by September 14, 2021; invited full applications will be due December 14, 2021. Visit the Jewish Helping Hands website to learn more.

ITAC Think Tanks: Join Monthly Conversations with International Colleagues


The International Teaching Artist Collaborative (ITAC) continues to host monthly Think Tank sessions for those looking to learn from and share with their international colleagues. Each session is led by a teaching artist from a different part of the world, who offers insight and moderates discussions around topics pertinent to the field. Sessions are listed through February ‘22; the next Think Tank takes place on Tuesday, August 31 (time TBA), and will explore teaching artistry’s role in developing “Future Literacy, Future Fluency, Future Competency, and Future Consciousness.” Some Think Tanks lead directly into working groups of artists from around the world who are passionate about a topic, and together they take on field-changing projects. Registration is free and easy through this ITAC Google Form, and archived sessions are available on their website.

New International Music Festival for Young Musicians in Chile


An Orchestra of the Americas alum has started an international music festival offering young musicians week-long intensive sessions with renowned faculty from the Orchestre de Paris, Metropolitan Opera, and other world-class institutions. The International Chamber Music Festival of Elqui is open to ambitious young musicians studying piano, strings, winds, and percussion, and will take place this November at Chile’s University of La Serena. Check out their website for more information, and follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts for upcoming information on how to register.

Over 200 Ways to Advocate for Music Education (With Science!)


Are you in need of some fresh material for grants, or some strong talking points for meetings with potential donors? Take a look at this article that summarizes over 200 different scientific studies on the advantages of music education. Published on Stars & Catz, “Benefits of music education statistics (200+ studies)” sorts those aforementioned benefits into unique categories, helping you search for the points that most support your advocacy. Interestingly—and perhaps helpfully—the resource shares that “80% of the studies carried out on this topic have been published in the last 12 years.”

Global Arts Shares Free Professional Development Sessions


The Global Arts team has curated a series of “Power Hour” professional development sessions around the topics of “Adultism” (with new El Sistema USA president Angelica Cortez), “Injury Prevention for Musicians,” and “Restarting My Music Classroom.” All sessions are available for free on Vimeo.

In addition to the sessions, the Global Arts team has shared a fun playlist you might use to close out the summer with your students, created by young Global Arts participants. Students compiled this “GALA Summer Playlist” while participating in the GA’s three-week summer program.

Celebrate the Work of Composer Florence Price at Price Fest 2021


Over the course of this year, many works by composers of color are being celebrated and performed on the global stage. One such celebration is this year’s International Florence Price Festival (Price Fest) 2021: A New Black Renaissance, happening this August 20–23. Sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Music, the virtual celebration of composer Florence Price will be led by a creative team that includes Jonathan T. Rush (MM ’19, Conducting), Daniel Sampson (MM ’19, Voice), and Jordan Randall Smith (‘14, Conducting). The festival will also include the premiere of My Lisette, a documentary on the evolution of Haitian folk song. There is a small registration fee to attend; register on the Price Fest website.

What Do We ‘Hear’ During Rests?


You know that you are still listening in the pauses between notes—but what does silence sound like to the brain? An article from Technology Networks seeks to answer that question. “The Sound of Silence: What Happens When Our Brains Imagine Music?” shares findings from two studies to demonstrate how the brain stays active during moments of silence, or rests. Using Bach’s melodies, researchers found that brain activity is very similar when both imagining and listening to music, producing similar patterns and brain wave responses that demonstrate the complex nature of processing music, notes, and sound.

Musicians Without Borders Hosts Leadership Summit, October 11–15


Here is an extra item for those with access to funding. Musicians Without Borders is hosting its Musical Leadership Summit on October 11–15 in Ede, Netherlands. This year’s focus: “Innovative Approaches Responding to the Needs of Displaced People.” Pre-sessions will happen in September and there is a €895 fee to attend. The fee covers all aspects of the week apart from travel expenses. Attendees are asked to have some musical background, leadership experience, and a strong interest in music for social change. More information about the Summit can be found on the MWB website.

Collective Leadership Builds Equity into Arts Organizations


A unique leadership model is emerging in the arts field that emphasizes the importance of collective decision-making. Arts Connect International, an organization that works to create inclusion and equity in the arts, has announced its new Co-Directors, who will now lead the organization as a collective body. According to their announcement, the model is in direct response to traditional non-profit infrastructure, which concentrates power in the hands of a few individuals who may or may not represent the community they serve. Each Co-Director shares equal and lateral leadership responsibility and is positioned to offer the same amount of influence and directional vision. Follow the Arts Connect International group as they embark on this new venture and leadership structure.

Register for Two Hybrid Events This Fall


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