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

The EmcArts Project Develops a New Model of Social Change through Teaching Artistry

09-02-2020

Social systems are invariably complex and do not yield to lasting change through traditional advocacy or planning efforts. Why is this? In part, because humans are at once inter-dependent, passionate, assertive, and territorial. These qualities drive social systems away from being ordered and predictable in their behaviors. Most of the time, they become complex and adaptive—which means there is room for creative efforts and for irrational imagination to contribute to the emergence of positive change.

Collective Conservatory and The Harmony Project

09-02-2020

This year, despite the ongoing pandemic, students at the Harmony Project exercised their creativity while participating with the Collective Conservatory, an organization that offers immersive and meaningful musical-making experiences for communities to improve youth-development, restorative practices, and wellness.

Student Voices Take the Lead during YOLA National at Home

09-01-2020

For close to a decade, the month of July has meant national Sistema gatherings hosted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and this year was no different—except that it was extremely different, because it was all virtual: YOLA National at Home.

Editorial: September 2020

09-01-2020

Since March 13, life has changed drastically. Arts institutions and businesses across the country shut down. Schools emptied. Everyone turned to the internet for visibility, accessibility, and relevance.

True Cultural Responsiveness

09-01-2020

When the pandemic exposed our nation, much of our work evaporated, leaving us only with what we have done, what we planned to do, and the reality of where we are. Undistracted, we began to address systemic racism with the urgency and furious passion it deserved. My heart swelled to see friends from all backgrounds join the fight, vocally and physically. With no gigs and a shrinking amount of teaching artist work, I felt less afraid of being blacklisted and freer to eradicate systemic racism.

Lessons in Listening

08-05-2020

Buffalo Public School #45 is the go-to public school for newly arrived refugees in Buffalo, NY. Speaking dozens of different languages and dialects, many of the school’s students are displaced from countries across the world. As we sat down in front of them, we introduced ourselves, our instruments, and the music we were about to play. Our audience was quiet, even distant. But as we placed our bows on our strings and the first notes emerged, everything changed.

Creating an Anti-Racist World

08-04-2020

As I write this, the rapid increase in global coronavirus cases telegraphs the continuation of online learning in the fall for most schools around the United States. The video of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, reminiscent of the visual horror of Emmett Till’s murder in August of 1955, has ignited peaceful protests around the world that have contributed to changes in American society we were sure we’d never see: the renaming of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, the removal of the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag, the banning of the Confederate flag by NASCAR and the Pentagon. All segments of society, including the arts and arts education, have been called to reflect on the reality of white supremacy, systemic racism, and our individual and collective bigotry that resists empathizing with or listening to the truth of anyone but ourselves.

Tool Kit for Rethinking Funding Strategies

07-07-2020

If your program is rethinking its fundraising strategies in this new economic landscape, you may want to consult the experts: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (the major publication for the field) recently published a Tool Kit for fundraising during the pandemic.

“Beyond the Board Statement,” an Article from Nonprofit Quarterly

07-07-2020

Many music for social change organizations want to respond to racial justice demands in every way they can, and engaging their Boards is a common strategy. A good, free, two-part webinar series from Nonprofit Quarterly shares effective ways to involve your Board: “Beyond the Board Statement: How Can Boards Join the Movement for Racial Justice?” See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Cultural Equity Learning Center

07-07-2020

The Cultural Equity Learning Community (CELC) is open to arts leaders committed to building racial equity and justice in the arts. Geared toward white-identifying arts leaders and/or those working in predominately white institutions, the two-unit online course offers a go-at-your-own pace learning path with complementary wraparound learning supports. The course seeks to reduce harm toward BIPOC leaders in the arts and culture sector, increase skill sets and accountability of white arts sector leaders, examine what it means to build anti-racist co-conspiratorship, and more.

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