Teaching & Learning

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

An Interview with Dream Orchestra Founder/Director Ron Davis Álvarez

01-06-2021

Last month, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music recognized Dream Orchestra Director (and El Sistema Sweden Artistic Director) Ron Davis Álvarez with the Göran Lagervall Pedagogy Prize for “his activities in 40 cultural schools, where he renewed the pedagogical orchestral tradition with his experience from Venezuela.” Just days later, Álvarez conducted a performance for the Global Teacher Prize Award Gala, hosted digitally this year. A former candidate for the Global Teacher Prize himself, Álvarez conducted 70 students from ten countries in a performance of Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.” Afterward, Álvarez was kind enough to sit down with The World Ensemble to discuss his busy week, his experiences with the Dream Orchestra, and his pedagogical philosophy.

Youth-Driven Online Music-Making: Channeling innovation through the screen and into the global community

01-05-2021

For ensemble music learning programs, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic seemed at first to mean a mandate to compromise music learning, by squeezing and narrowing curriculums to fit into a suddenly two-dimensional space. As time went on, however, the field blossomed with creative initiatives. For our programs, the crisis was a call to action not only to channel innovation through a screen, but also to blow it open into a far-reaching, multi-dimensional, and globally expansive experience. The key? Collaboration—the kind that stretches to every corner of the globe the Internet can touch.

New Reports from LEGO Foundation Champion Acts of Play in Young Learning

01-05-2021

The LEGO Foundation is publishing a series of reports that gather a broad spectrum of viewpoints on creativity in learning. Their most recent report is “Creating Creators.” The LEGO Foundation describes its goal: “to build a future in which learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners.” These goals encounter arguments that are familiar to teachers in the arts—that the arts are “nice but not necessary.” LEGO takes a holistic view that highlights the ways in which children’s physical, social, cognitive, creative, and emotional skills complement and interact with one another through play. Read the full report here.

Carnegie Hall Offers Free Workshop for Young Songwriters

12-16-2020

You probably have several secret (or not-so-secret) young songwriters in your program—pass this resource along to them. Carnegie Hall has posted a five-part workshop on “How to Write a Song,” led by songwriter and performer Bridget Barkan. The series explores the power of songs and provides a step-by-step approach to crafting a song that expresses ideas and emotions; finding inspiration; writing a chorus, verse, and bridge; and making sure that the song has the communicative power of personal voice.

ArtsEdSearch and Khan Academy Offer Free Resource Libraries for the Arts Education Community

12-16-2020

Are you sometimes looking for solid research to back up your claims about your program’s value? ArtsEdSearch is the largest online clearinghouse for reliable arts education research to support practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the U.S. This searchable database (sort by age level, arts discipline, kinds of providers, and more) now holds over 300 studies gathered over eight years by the Arts Education Partnership. Many of the studies address relevant issues such as social and emotional learningschool engagement, and civic and community engagement.

The Influence of Music Education on Developing Children

12-01-2020

The past two decades of psychological and neuroscientific research on music have provided robust evidence that learning to play music can support brain maturation and the development of cognitive and social skills in children and adolescents. Learning an instrument requires long hours of practice, focused attention, memory, and discipline; mastering one involves the continuous capacity to improve motor, auditory, and executive skills, and is likely to influence the differential development, maintenance, and function of certain brain structures and systems.

KiddlyWinks

11-18-2020

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The International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies: A Longtime Dream Becomes Reality

11-12-2020

Music can unite the world, produce unity and harmony in the community, and offer social and financial assurance. Having grown up humbly myself, I began dreaming in 2011 of starting an academic institution and cultural center for the young generation in my home area of Masaka, Uganda. That dream became the International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies (IMLS), located in the city of Masaka, near Lake Victoria.

El Sistema Venezuela: Academic Strategies in Times of Confinement

11-04-2020

As the new school year takes off, we think it is a good moment to reach out to our friends in Sistema-inspired projects around the world, to share our experiences in teaching and caring for our kids throughout the months of quarantine.

Cultural Equity Resource Center Recently Launched by Americans for the Arts

11-04-2020

Americans for the Arts has launched a Cultural Equity Resource Center. Like their widely used Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center, this will be updated regularly with information about programming, resources, and news to assist all in achieving our racial/social justice goals. They will keep adding to it—upcoming is a directory of equity consultants and service providers. If you have a resource to add, let them know.

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