New Orleans

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

Expanding Into College-Level Music Courses for High School Students

09-07-2021

Teaching music theory is tricky. College-level music theory courses tend to focus exclusively on either Western European classical conventions or on jazz. Rarely are these two models taught side by side, as they use different vocabularies to describe musical phenomena. Both models have their advantages, but both are limited. Make Music NOLA has been working for years to develop a curriculum that teaches both side by side.

The Bands Will Sound Again: Preserving NOLA’s Marching Band Tradition at The Roots of Music

08-03-2021

Silence does not belong in New Orleans. Here, any excuse for a celebration is met with a full-blown, over-the-top extravaganza. Noise is welcomed, and our best noise-producers—musicians—play a crucial role in everyday life.

Of course, one type of ensemble represents New Orleans better than any other: the marching band. In New Orleans, a marching band is a magnet; it brings people together and shares with them a piece of the region’s soul. But in 2020, the silent spread of the coronavirus left New Orleanians without this deep tradition. It left New Orleans without its noise.

For Young Music Organizations, Community Work Matters More

07-06-2021

The first concert that Make Music NOLA ever played was the opening of a community garden. Back then, the organization was still named the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward—a group of young musicians with less than a year on their instruments, putting on an unpolished performance of “Saints Go Marching In” for the community. The experience was critical for these students; performing alongside Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, they felt a lasting current of community support and encouragement. Most of those students continued to play their instruments for years, and many went on to learn a brass instrument and join the marching band at Martin Luther King Elementary.

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