Research

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

Suggested Reading: Of Sound Mind

10-05-2021

In the new book Of Sound Mind (MIT Press), auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus makes the case that budding musicians enjoy measurable brain gains that help them achieve outside the school orchestra. The book covers Kraus’ career studying life and sound at her Brainvolts lab at Northwestern University, including two longitudinal studies of real-world music students who showed improved language and reading skills that tracked with changes in their brain functioning.

Lewis Prize for Music Shares New Research on the State of Our Field

09-15-2021

The Lewis Prize for Music has done something unusual in the grant-making arena: it just released a detailed, probing report on the state of the field, titled “Midcasting Toward Just Futures: Creative Youth Development’s Waymaking to Systems Change Through and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Download the report via Lewis Prize to learn how over 280 music CYD organizations are meeting the challenges of our time, and what youth leaders are saying about systems change. The report focuses on “the intersection of this deep trust-building relational work with CYD’s internal justice orientations, direct service and immediate needs responsiveness, movement building, and partnerships, as a nexus of systems change.”

Free Webinar Series on Social-Emotional Learning for Teachers, Parents, and Advocates

09-15-2021

A recent survey conducted by the Save The Music Foundation shows that students are having a difficult time returning to the classroom. Responses from their partner teachers indicate that students are now dealing with increased stress (81%), anxiety (75%), depression (56%), and isolation and loneliness (56%). To help music educators and families support these students, Save The Music has produced a free webinar series on social and emotional learning (SEL). It is called “Student Empowerment through SEL in Music Education,” and it can be accessed here via their website. You must register in advance of every session. Each session features special guest speakers and focuses on a unique element of SEL, so check their calendar for the upcoming schedule.

The Music behind Netflix’s South African Series JIVA!

09-15-2021

Netflix has a new show that might interest your students: JIVA!, a dance-focused drama series produced in South Africa. The website okayafrica has compiled a list of the songs behind the show’s impressive dance routines, showcasing South Africa’s rich musical culture for audiences who may not be familiar. If our kids are staring at their screens, we may as well sneak some music education, and some dance-irresistible music, into their programming.

Cultivating Gratitude

09-07-2021

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Moving Forward from the Pandemic in the Arts

09-07-2021

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Over 200 Ways to Advocate for Music Education (With Science!)

08-18-2021

Are you in need of some fresh material for grants, or some strong talking points for meetings with potential donors? Take a look at this article that summarizes over 200 different scientific studies on the advantages of music education. Published on Stars & Catz, “Benefits of music education statistics (200+ studies)” sorts those aforementioned benefits into unique categories, helping you search for the points that most support your advocacy. Interestingly—and perhaps helpfully—the resource shares that “80% of the studies carried out on this topic have been published in the last 12 years.”

Celebrate the Work of Composer Florence Price at Price Fest 2021

08-18-2021

Over the course of this year, many works by composers of color are being celebrated and performed on the global stage. One such celebration is this year’s International Florence Price Festival (Price Fest) 2021: A New Black Renaissance, happening this August 20–23. Sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Music, the virtual celebration of composer Florence Price will be led by a creative team that includes Jonathan T. Rush (MM ’19, Conducting), Daniel Sampson (MM ’19, Voice), and Jordan Randall Smith (‘14, Conducting). The festival will also include the premiere of My Lisette, a documentary on the evolution of Haitian folk song. There is a small registration fee to attend; register on the Price Fest website.

What Do We ‘Hear’ During Rests?

08-18-2021

You know that you are still listening in the pauses between notes—but what does silence sound like to the brain? An article from Technology Networks seeks to answer that question. “The Sound of Silence: What Happens When Our Brains Imagine Music?” shares findings from two studies to demonstrate how the brain stays active during moments of silence, or rests. Using Bach’s melodies, researchers found that brain activity is very similar when both imagining and listening to music, producing similar patterns and brain wave responses that demonstrate the complex nature of processing music, notes, and sound.

Free Online Notebook Explores ‘Ethics and Participatory Art’

08-18-2021

What has the field of participatory arts for social change learned about ethics in its decades of growth? We have, in fact, developed best practices—do you know them? There is a new, free, digital notebook, written by two leaders in the field and edited by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, called “Art and Community Notebooks.” It follows a January workshop hosted by the Foundation’s PARTIS program, which included nearly 100 participants from both sides of the Atlantic discussing “Ethics and Participatory Art.” Available in both Portuguese and English, the notebook is written by colleagues with decades of experience: cultural activist and visual artist Arlene Goldbard, who lives in the U.S., and writer, researcher, and community artist François Matarasso. Download the notebook via the Gulbenkian Foundation.

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