the ensemble

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

Microgrants for Arts Workers of Color


ARTNOIR’s Jar of Love Microgrants provide relief for artists, curators, and cultural workers of color, launched to ensure that the next generation of Black and Brown arts workers are supported. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and open to all arts workers living in the fifty states, territories, and Tribal Nations. Check out the application process on ARTNOIR’s website, and learn more about ARTNOIR—a female-majority and minority owned global collective based in NYC—here.

Redefining a Residency: Reflections on Our COVID Year Collaboration


We decided to start with a small idea: to have one of the musicians in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) join the advanced piano students in our program for a few Zoom sessions. Our thinking was that it could be almost like a masterclass, with the musician talking to the students about their experiences and coaching them on musical concepts. Our only concern was whether piano students would be able to relate to and make meaningful connections with a string player.

The Ensemble Evolves with Its Community


The change you will see in the next issue of The Ensemble is another evolutionary step. We’ve realized that this field we are making together is no longer usefully separated by national or continental borders. Practitioners travel across borders; challenges are common across borders; the experiments and discoveries in one place are increasingly relevant and valuable in others. And the solidarity we need to grow in power as a movement is stronger when it’s active across borders.

Collaborators in the Key of Change


Society’s highest goal for children in foster care seems to be keeping them out of trouble. But their social workers ache for more. In our conversations, they were drawn to the idea of offering children a path to rare and significant personal success, including new skills and disciplines that would change their future.

Two Opportunities from Sphinx—Deadline Oct. 20


Sphinx LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity) is accepting applications for its next cohort. The two-year leadership program is designed “for arts administrators and leaders looking to slingshot their careers to executive-level placement.” Ten arts leaders of color will be selected to participate in a curriculum that includes mentorship, networking, and leadership retreats at top institutions nationwide, including both on-site and virtual learning. Applications are due by October 20; visit to learn more and apply.

The 25th Annual Sphinx Competition will take place January 26–29, 2022. This national competition offers young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with and receive mentorship from professional musicians. Prizes range from $3,000 to the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize. The deadline for your students to apply is October 20; read the FAQs and requirements on the Sphinx site.

Funding for Early Childhood Programs


The Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood is looking to support programs that enhance and bring quality of life to children from birth to seven years old. They are especially seeking “innovative curricula” and “the design of imaginative play materials and learning environments”—something our field understands better than most. What better way to encourage imaginative play than with inclusive, collaborative music learning? Grants are designed to act as seed money, so if you know of a new program still looking to get off the ground, consider sharing this with them. Visit to learn more and apply.

Virtual Event: ‘Our Shared Future’


All teaching artists know the value of our sharing our perspective in larger global contexts. That’s especially true now during this ongoing pandemic recovery effort. If you’re interested in continuing those conversations, then you’re invited to a virtual event on December 7–9, 2021: “Our Shared Future: Imagining a New Landscape for Teaching Artists.” Designed for and by teaching artists, the event is co-hosted by the Teaching Artists Guild, Arts Education Partnership, National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Education, and Hewlett Foundation. It will feature artmaking, panel discussions, roundtables, and small-group conversations designed to generate new ideas about the role of our work in pandemic recovery. Follow TAG’s Facebook page for updates on how to register.

NYC-Based Funding Centers Women’s Perspectives in the Arts


Here’s a bonus item for those based in New York City: The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre, provided by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and NYC’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The grant will distribute $2.5 million to NYC-based projects that center women’s voices and perspectives in media, music, and theatre. Anyone who identifies as a woman or places women in central leadership positions is eligible to apply. Applications are due November 1. Read more about the grant and watch recorded information sessions here via NYFA.

Call to Action: Invest in Arts Education Now


Four powerhouses across the major performing arts disciplines co-wrote an op-ed early this summer about this critical moment for arts education. The New York Daily News piece, penned by Misty Copeland, Wynton Marsalis, Jody Gottfried Arnhold, and Russell Granet, calls on public schools in New York City to invest in equitable, high-quality arts instruction in their curricula. Though the writers take an NYC-centric view—expressing their disappointment in the city’s mishandling of a federal stimulus—they spotlight issues that will resonate with programs in any state: equity gaps in education, investment in teachers, and proper resource allocation in schools. Read the article via NYDN and be sure to share it with peers.

Podcasts, for and by Teachers


Edutopia’s “13 Educator-Approved Podcasts to Listen to This Year” is here for any educator looking to take a step back and view their work in new ways. These suggestions come from Edutopia readers and aim to support teachers as people, not just as educators. One podcast, Social Studies, helps listeners find the funny in work that can often feel stressful or overwhelming; another, Black Educators Matter, highlights the stories of 500 Black educators nationwide.


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