Research

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

New Research on Music and the Brain

07-21-2021

Music has long helped to bring communities and cultures together. A recent study by neuroscientists from Bar-Ilan University and the University of Chicago collected data to demonstrate just that. Its findings, shared in a paper titled “The Social Neuroscience of Music: Understanding the Social Brain through Human Song,” outline the five areas of the brain that contribute to social connection through music: empathy circuits, oxytocin secretions, reward and motivation, language structures, and dopamine.

Using Music to Treat Alzheimer’s

07-21-2021

Imagine receiving a prescription to simply listen to music. This is exactly what’s happening for some Alzheimer’s patients, who are participating in trials at the NHS. During trials, an algorithm is created based on each patient’s background in order to suggest which types of music might reduce the patient’s distress and heart rate.

Using the Arts to Fight the Effects of Housing Insecurity

07-06-2021

Since 2016, unstable housing for young people in 5th grade or higher increased by 20-23%—a damning statistic with catastrophic ripple effects. A study from the Seattle Public Schools and Creative Advantage sought to address this crisis, focusing on high school students in their two-year arts program from 2018–20.

A New Network for Arts and Education Leaders to Collaborate and Share

07-06-2021

The Arts Education Partnership has launched a “Collaboration Corner” as part of their ArtsEd Digest newsletter, designed to connect arts and education leaders so they can share ideas and grow their work.

Using the Virtual Environment to Teach New Career Skills

06-16-2021

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.

Choosing Strength-Based Messaging

06-01-2021

This article from Prosper Strategies examines the importance of how nonprofits describe their work, offering “dos and don’ts” for authentic communication. “Four Myths about Strength-Based Messaging” discusses three common types of messaging in the nonprofit sector: stereotype-based messaging, needs-based messaging, and strength-based messaging. Author Lindsay Mullen argues for organizations to use strength-based messaging in their communication, highlighting common mistakes that inadvertently perpetuate harmful narratives regarding the very communities we seek to uplift.

Youth Mental Health in Crisis

06-01-2021

Medical experts in Colorado urge the declaration of a state mental health emergency for its young people: “We are seeing our pediatric emergency departments and our inpatient units overrun with kids attempting suicide and suffering from other forms of major mental health illness.” This Chalkbeat article about the circumstances that led to the declaration demonstrates the gravity of the crisis across all states.

YouTube Star Reimagines Music Theory Lessons

06-01-2021

It is possible! YouTube star Adam Neely has made music theory fun, entertaining, even fascinating.

New Tool for Music Educators: The Comprehensive String Pedagogy & Curriculum

05-19-2021

The new Comprehensive String Pedagogy & Curriculum (CSPC) has been written by Richard Young of the Vermeer Quartet as an in-depth tool for Sistema-inspired youth orchestra teachers, conductors, and administrators. A longtime admirer of José Antonio Abreu, Young has taught extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, and the U.S.

SEL Activities for Adults and Students

05-19-2021

The organization Learners Edge partners with universities to offer online professional development and continuing education graduate credit courses for teachers. Though their university partners are all in the U.S., they also offer many resources for educators and teaching artists worldwide to use in their work.

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