Program Design

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

Haitian Music Nation: Forging Pathways with BLUME Haiti

05-04-2022

Access to music education can be a potent antidote to despair for students and their teachers, families, and communities—one of the very few ways that people of vastly different social classes in Haiti can meet and interact as equals. As one of our scholarship participants stated, “music helps one become human.”

High School Interns Power East Lake Expression Engine

05-04-2022

At Expression Engine, we hire our students. Our students are our expansion plan, our growing capacity, and our future. We hire them as interns at 14, and, since they have already been participating in peer teaching, they are ready to step up. “The Engine” belongs to them, and they know it.

Lessons from Firebird Fellows

05-04-2022

Ensemble editors spoke with three Firebirds about which teaching muscles have been most transformed, asking them to describe a specific change that they attribute to their experience in the Fellowship. Their responses were rich, thoughtful, and relevant in any classroom.

El Sistema School WHIN Expands Charter

04-20-2022

The U.S.’s WHIN Music Community Charter School, the country’s first school to be designed and founded on El Sistema principles, has renewed their charter for five years—expanding to a new middle school this September.

Inside the Piano Pedagogy Research Lab

04-06-2022

The Piano Lab does not look like your typical research laboratory. We want visitors to feel welcome and creative; as piano virtuoso Jon Kimura Parker said after visiting, “The first thing that hits you when you walk in is how inviting and colorful and friendly it is here.”

Instilling—and then Measuring—Confidence in Young Band Members

04-06-2022

Six thousand children participate in field bands across South Africa. These bands operate in rural and peri-urban communities that have little in the way of cultural, educational, or public health infrastructure. After-school activities are few. And yet, within these communities’ growing bands, people are growing, too.

Scenes from Skaramagas Refugee Camp

03-02-2022

Skaramagas was a place full of life and laughter, where people living under harsh conditions could still surprise you with generosity and optimism. Compared to many refugee camps, it was quite peaceful; I can’t count how many birthday parties, shared meals, and Arabic teas I attended while I worked there. And yet it was also unstable, an ecosystem of hardships and irritations—inevitable when many people of different cultures are forced to live together in a place they would rather not be. Against this backdrop, our students grew up.

At David’s Harp, Transparency Leads the Way—and Mentorship Follows

02-02-2022

We adults are rarely transparent with young people. This is true for several reasons—we want to respect their boundaries; we need to maintain our authority in the room; we make ourselves malleable at the expense of honesty—but the biggest might be because it’s so easy to screw up.

Unpacking AIM’s Five Pillars of Practice

02-02-2022

Our five Pillars of Practice not only articulate areas in which our Firebird Fellows commit to stretch with their students. They also underpin AIM’s approach to teacher training. Teachers need and deserve to participate in empowering experiential learning that informs how they support their students.

Ghetto Classics Dance, in Nairobi, Kenya

02-02-2022

On the crowded roads of Korogocho, with its 300,000 inhabitants on 1.5 sq. km, its tin homes with no running water and open sewage, and its backdrop of Dandora (an immense, ever-growing, and constantly burning mountain of garbage), one can scarcely imagine encountering a center filled with live arts. But that is the home of Ghetto Classics, where every corner, every room vibrates with music—from Chopin to Tanzanian composer Adam Salim.

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