the ensemble

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

Impactful Creative Youth Development


During my 20-plus years of being an arts advocate and leader of music for social change work, I have repeatedly returned to this question: “How can we best convey the scope and complexity of our field’s impactful work to funders and policymakers?” 

I’m confident this is a question many Ensemble readers also ask. Communicating the many benefits for young people, families, and communities that result from our work is more complex than a sound bite.

Safe Spaces in Unsafe Places: Talking with Lucas Dols of Sounds of Change


When we last spoke to Sounds of Change Founder and Director Lucas Dols, in 2022, he was hopeful about an upcoming year of growth for the organization… Seventeen months later, the world is no less difficult or overwhelming for young people looking to find their way. With a focus on those who are most affected by violence and displacement abroad, we talked with Lucas about the work Sounds of Change is doing to help.


Courage and Community at Ghetto Classics Dance


The river is fighting to flow through the densely settled garbage, scavenged by Korogocho inhabitants. The heat of the sun bounces from the ground, the rising dust fills my eyes, while a gang member greets me in Swahili.

Five years into my work with Ghetto Classics Dance, I am again presented with the opportunity to write about our program.

ESG’s Young Leaders Strike Chords of Empowerment


On Saturday, November 25, following the International Day for Children’s Rights, El Sistema Greece’s Young Leaders Program welcomed Anna Mertzani, Manager of the Intercultural Center “PYXIDA” of the Greek Council for Refugees.

In Guam, Marrying Past and Future through ‘Beautiful Gatherings’


Our story begins in 2000, when I first began to teach at a public school in Guam.  I had just come back from studying in the States, where I’d felt increasingly disconnected from my Chamorro identity, and I was teaching social studies and physical education.  I noticed that there were some kids who liked to hang out in my classroom during recess and lunch…

We’re Back!


AIM’s Music Capsules Offer Snapshots of How We Learn


If you’re a teaching artist, or have ever been one, you’ve probably wondered: Should I always take the lead in the learning process? Are there ways students can take the lead sometimes? What’s the best way for my students to learn?

Such questions are often the focus of “The Firebird Fellowship,” the program at the heart of the Academy for Impact through Music (AIM), a global innovation lab for changemakers tackling educational inequality through music education.

The Ambassadors’ Exchange: In Our Own Voices


To complement the “Ambassador (Re)Introductions” published in April, the cohort recorded video introductions for the month of June. Listen to the Ambassadors as they say hello in their native languages, from every corner of the globe.

From Music Rooms to Policy Meetings: Taking Lessons from a Life in Music


In my first Ensemble editorial, I wrote about how opportunities within classical music allowed me to bypass barriers caused by economic inequality in the Philippines. But this unequal distribution of resources still bothers me today, which is why I’m studying political science and hoping to go into policy research after graduation.

With just one year to go at college, I’ve been reflecting on the ways my musical training has influenced how I approach the social sciences

In the Netherlands, Public and Private Sectors Partner toward Music for All


In 2014, arts education in the Netherlands was in a dire state. In particular, music education had suffered from years of budget cuts in primary schools. There was an increased focus on the “case subjects,” such as language and math, as well as changes in the teacher training colleges, where only one or two modules of music education remained in the curriculum. 


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