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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.

Arts and Disabilities: Service-Learning in Trinidad and Tobago

02-03-2021

The first service-learning course I taught at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) Academy for the Performing Arts (APA) was a Residency in Community Arts. I chose to partner with the Consortium of Disabilities Organization (CODO) to offer my students a mentored residency working with students with disabilities. As I don’t have a background in special education, I decided to collaborate with a colleague from the University of the West Indies, music therapist Jean Raabe, to run an intensive workshop before the semester and join me in mentoring students on the project.

Youth Voices: The ChiMOP Alumni Internship Program

02-02-2021

During the fall of 2020, I participated in the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project’s (ChiMOP) new Alumni Internship Program (CAIP). CAIP was designed to offer recent ChiMOP graduates hands-on leadership experience during program hours as well as introductory-level job experience behind the scenes—helping staff with everything from lesson planning to administrative tasks. I signed up to gain experience, having never done anything like it before (unless you count trying to teach small groups of little ones while still a student myself). At first, it was a difficult adjustment. I worried that it would be a lot of work that didn’t come naturally to me. But despite some early struggles, I had a good time doing it—especially sharing the experience with the other interns.

Words Matter, More Than You Think

02-02-2021

If I were King of Arts Education, I’d post an edict banning five words: amazing, fantastic, unbelievable, outstanding, incredible.

Most music educators use those words a lot, and always with good intent. They want to encourage, celebrate, and motivate their students. The words express the enthusiasm and affection they feel for their students. The King supports all of that. The edict has its eye on the cost of that impulse when it results in hyperbolic acclaim. Cumulatively, the cost is high.

Imagining New Orchestra Partnerships

02-02-2021

During this time of profound disruption, music for social change organizations have the opportunity to explore new possibilities for collaboration with professional orchestras. This is easier for some than others; not every city has both an orchestra and a social change program. The Pittsburgh Symphony, for example, does not have an El Sistema program in the city—but through their Learning and Community Engagement Department, they have collaborated with many local youth programs.

Actos de Confianza Relief Funding from NALAC and Mellon

01-20-2021

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation want to support Latinx artists and arts organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Their Actos de Confianza relief grants provide emergency funds to these organizations, one geographical region at a time. The first calls are for programs in mid-America, moving then to the East and West Coasts. The funding cycle will take place between January and May 2021. If your organization qualifies, be sure to review the application information on their website. In addition to listing all relevant deadlines, it includes information on which states qualify for which regions.

Aim High Grants Support After-School Programs for Middle Schoolers—deadline Feb. 1

01-20-2021

The Aim High Grant supports out-of-school programs serving middle school youth in the U.S. Aim High works with eighth graders in need of significant economic support, helping them succeed in high school by supporting after-school, summer, and expanded learning programs. Programs must serve at least 75% low-income youth. One-year grants of $15,000 will support programs in their racial equity and social justice efforts; two-year grants ($50,000 or $100,000) will support programs in expanding direct services, technical assistance, and capacity amid pandemic challenges and beyond. The program is funded by the New York Life Foundation (administered by the Afterschool Alliance), and the application deadline is February 1, 2021. Learn more on the Afterschool Alliance website.

Teaching Artist Guild to Host Two Professional Workshop Series

01-20-2021

The Teaching Artist Guild offers a free professional development series addressing topics that are pertinent to music for social change teachers around the world. The “Youth Right Now = Truth Right Now: Listening to Young Artists” series will begin with a session titled “Adultism vs. Youth Voice” on Wednesday, January 20, 4:30–6:00 p.m. EST in the U.S. Youth artists will unpack the effects of adultist behavior on their lives and invite participants/practitioners to reimagine and adopt new ways of engaging with youth.

Join This Conversation on Juvenile Incarcerated Populations and the Arts

01-20-2021

If you are an arts organization that works with juvenile incarcerated populations, consider joining a conversation about the intersection of the arts and juvenile justice systems and policy decisions. On January 21, at 2:00 p.m. EST, representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services and the State’s 30th district will discuss how to expand arts education in juvenile justice settings and support young people’s rehabilitation by engaging them on pathways forward. The conversation is being hosted by Arts Education Partnership, a national network of over 100 organizations dedicated to advancing arts education. Registration is still open on their event page.

The Young & Emerging Leaders Forum Series

01-20-2021

There is a meeting place for future leaders in our field. Presented by Creative Generation, the Young and Emerging Leaders Forum is a gathering for “young scholars, emerging leaders, and new colleagues to the field of arts education.” The Forum creates a space to share work, participate in shared learning, and cultivate “leadership pipelines” for the global arts field. There are multiple participatory sessions in the series that started in December and will end in June 2021. If you or a colleague is 35 or under, or within the first five years of your career, consider signing up for the upcoming session on February 4 via Creative Generation.

Carnegie Hall to Send Customized Musical ‘Valentines’ to Friends and Loved Ones

01-20-2021

Is this innovation something that your program or teaching artists might try? Carnegie Hall’s “Ensemble Connect” (EC) is a cohort of world-class young musicians who develop as teaching artists and musicians in their two-year intensive program. They are now inviting anyone to commission ($20) a personalized recording of a piece of music that fits their musical-emotional request, to be sent as a Valentine’s Day present. A personalized video of the performance by an EC alum is delivered by email. They are limiting the number so as not to be overwhelmed, so if you’re interested, reach out to them soon. Or maybe your program’s students could do this locally?

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