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.

AfroCharts Connects Listeners with New Music from African Artists


A new streaming platform aims to give aspiring African artists a chance to earn money without the big record deal. Founder Leonard Novati saw a correspondence between less globalized African regions and the absence of new artistic voices from those regions, prompting him to create AfroCharts. Now, artists all over Africa can upload their songs and make money directly while engaging with their fan base. It’s an innovative approach to the oversaturated streaming market, one that uniquely amplifies the listener-and-artist relationship. Read more about the founder and start-up story via Techpoint.

Make Music Day Calls for All Musicians to Take to the Streets on June 21


Make Music Day began as a small idea in France for a new kind of musical holiday, one where live music emanates from every corner and in any setting, as inclusively as possible. Now, 39 years later, it is a globally recognized holiday and festival in 120 countries, threading together different musical cultures all on one day: June 21. This free event invites all levels of musicians to participate in their hometowns’ Make Music Days, or to take the lead in bringing it to their respective cities with a downloadable toolkit. Consider this unique opportunity for your program or organization to participate in—or start—a day of shared musical community.

Performing Artists Encouraged to Apply for International Showcase


Western Arts Alliance is opening its international showcase application for the Performing Arts Discovery program (PAD) 2021 season. Launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to promote U.S. artists to international programmers, PAD welcomes artists of any art form or genre who are ready to tour internationally. Those who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC are especially encouraged to apply. There is no fee to apply and submissions are due by June 25; find out more via Western Arts Alliance.

Using the Virtual Environment to Teach New Career Skills


During this period of online learning and work-from-home models, there have been massive shifts in what is expected of students who are seeking out careers and charting their unique pathways. This SmartBrief “Smart Focus” delves into what “preparedness” looks like now, and how to get students there virtually. For programs that offer more than just music lessons and emphasize “wrap-around” services, this examination of the impact of project-based learning in virtual environments could be helpful in developing new curriculum designs.

Exploring the Indigenous Sounds of Zimbabwe and Womanhood


From the Motherland is an on-demand virtual concert experience hosted by Castle of Our Skins, a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. The event explores “Zimbabwean cultural roots and a personal rite of passage into womanhood.” There is a “pay-what-you-like” donation associated with the series, which goes directly to supporting original works from artists such as Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa Nzou Mambano, who composed, directed, arranged, and performed the concert’s music. Ticket and program information can be found at

Arts and Healing: A Call for Unique Voices


Creative Generation is calling for stories about how the arts and arts education have helped people and communities heal. Their theme for June is “Healing,” which follows the previous month’s theme of “Protest Art.” Artists are asked to share their stories of recovery and community using whatever social media platforms they prefer. Use the social media handle @Campaign4GenC and #CreativityForGood to contribute to this global call.

Connect Your Students to Artists Around the World


What is Classroom Connect? Created by Teach to Learn, it is a “customizable virtual classroom that uses live-streaming video to connect students and teachers in the United States to musicians from around the world.” Teachers who are looking for ways to expose their young musicians to international artists and genres should check out this offering of music and musicians from all over the world.

Second-Year Music Competition is Looking for New Talent


The Sound Espressivo Competition is looking for instrumentalists of all ages to apply for the 2021 season! This online competition holds preliminary rounds during the final weekend of every month, with the next prelim taking place June 26–27. Prizes include performance opportunities, cash, masterclasses, publicity, and much more. Artists are able to choose from an array of genre, instrument (including voice), and age bracket categories. The submission fee is $100 USD. Find out more on their website.

Free Online Course Offers Tools for Community Peacebuilding


Many teaching artists work in stressed or transitional communities. They may find a just-released online course in peacebuilding useful. Offered free from Peace Direct through August, it provides a practical toolkit for resolving conflict locally. If peacebuilding is a part of your program’s work, as is often true in projects for social development and democracy, “Conflict Transformation: your practical toolkit for peacebuilding” can support your work. The course includes eight modules (each lasting 10–15 minutes), with group discussions and a variety of real-life scenarios and case studies from across the world. Find out more via Peace Direct.

Big News from El Sistema Greece


On July 5, the young musicians of the El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra and Youth Choir will take the historic stage of the Herodion, tucked just under the Parthenon in Athens. Alongside Blend Mishkin and his reggae-soul band and other musicians, they will perform world-famous melodies at the Athens Epidaurus Festival, celebrating the songs that have most greatly impacted the modern music scene. After a year and a half without live performances, they can’t wait.


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