Teaching & Learning

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

Editorial: June 2020

06-02-2020

On my COVID-era daily hike, I found myself behind a woman on her cell phone. At first, I resented the noise; then I began to listen. “Hello, this is Ms. F., Leila’s violin teacher. How are you?…How is she? Does she know she has messages from her music class? We are doing song-writing, and she would be so good at it…Yes, I’d love to tell her.” I realized I was hearing a new kind of musical alliance between teachers, students, and families.

Sharing Our Work during COVID-19

06-02-2020

As learning programs of every kind and in every part of the world find ways to respond to the global health crisis, El Sistema-inspired programs are doing what we encourage our students to do: we are learning from one another. At Miami Music Project, we quickly reached out to El Sistema USA about creating resources for other El Sistema-inspired programs. We were excited to learn that Monique Van Willingh, Director of the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Longy School of Music at Bard College, was already working to develop a webinar series with the goal of sharing field experiences and best practices of organizations that are successfully transitioning to digital programming. Since summer camp activities are the immediate concern for many El Sistema-inspired programs around North America, El Sistema USA President Katie Wyatt reached out to several program leaders to begin sharing their experiences and innovations in this area.

The Amani Project Partners with U.S. El Sistema Teachers-in-Training

06-01-2020

As students in Longy School of Music’s El Sistema-inspired Masters of Arts in Teaching program, we have recently partnered with the Amani Project, a global nonprofit that uses music to serve youth in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Colombia, India, and many more countries around the world. We have found this collaboration to be a crucial reminder of perhaps the most important part of the El Sistema philosophy: social change. While technical excellence is prioritized in standard music pedagogy, El Sistema pushes us to bring musical competency and social justice into convergence. However, despite being in an El Sistema-inspired program, as music teachers we sometimes lose sight of ideals beyond music for music’s sake.

Statement by UNESCO Ministers of Culture

05-18-2020

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Embracing the Unexpected

05-05-2020

It’s built into our DNA to think, plan, and act towards the future. Your brain is wired to do amazing things, right at this moment.

Editorial: May 2020

05-05-2020

We are living in a moment of unprecedented anxiety. Those of us who know and teach the musical arts as means of expression have been busy trying to summon music’s healing powers. We know instinctively that music is the place we must go to and invite people into, to be soothed and comforted. It is one of our spiritual practices. Leonard Bernstein wrote about this at another time when our nation mourned, after the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy: “We must make music more devotedly, more intensely, than ever before,” he said. This time is different. The context in which we are to make music has changed. We have been challenged to deal with the fact that our healing business must be conducted on the Internet.

Atlanta Music Project: Music of the African Diaspora

05-05-2020

In February of this year, the Atlanta Music Project presented a monthlong concert series celebrating music of the African Diaspora. The Music of the African Diaspora Concert Series garnered much attention and welcomed larger audiences than most AMP events. Its success led us to make the series an annual event, not only due to our supporters’ positive response but also because of its impact on our young musicians during and leading up to the concerts.

Professional Development Clock Hours from NAfME

04-07-2020

Free professional development clock hours have been made available by the National Association for Music Education in response to the unprecedented cancelations of conferences and shift to online teaching. These resources, including ten webinars from NAfME Academy, 14 articles from Music Educator Journal, and Live Professional Learning Community webinar series, are peer-reviewed and specifically developed for and by music educators.

Case Study on Cultural Humility from Institute for Music Leadership

04-07-2020

Buffalo String Works in Buffalo, NY has worked with refugee students from Afghanistan, Burma, Eritrea, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Though inspired by the international El Sistema model, the organization faced plenty of cultural hurdles in working to serve the diverse population. Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership has written a case study examining the early years of BSW as it worked to adapt to the needs of the community. Read more to learn how they strived for “cultural humility” and musical excellence simultaneously—these lessons in inclusion can be applied to all programs, no matter their makeup.

Welcome Videos Provide Sense of Familiarity for Students at WHIN Music Community Charter School

04-07-2020

A sense of safety and connectedness is the foundation of successful student learning, but natural disasters can cause turmoil. The impacts of the current pandemic have upended all our familiar routines and rituals, so we must re-dedicate ourselves to these practices. New York City’s WHIN Music Community Charter School cleverly addresses the issues of familiarity and routine for their disrupted students in a video that welcomes them to their online classes.

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