The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
Have you ever been in collegial dialogue with colleagues in Europe? Join two hour-long discussions with El Sistema Sweden and Sistema Europe members in May. The first discussion is on Wednesday, May 6, 17:00 CEST/1:00pm EDT, focusing on Non-Digital Teaching Tools. What activities can we organize to warm up, to create energy, and to manage larger groups? The second discussion is on Wednesday May 20, 17:00 CEST/1:00pm EDT. The topic: Developing Groups and Repertoire. How can we best advance learning in groups, and what repertoire fits best? The discussions will be recorded and later made available on FB/IG. Register by email; you will receive a Zoom link.
The National Guild for Community Arts Education is a national service organization that supports creative youth development programs and teaching artists, prioritizing social justice in the arts. With current financial strains for everyone, they now offer a pay-what-you-can membership for organizations and individuals. Maybe now is the time to join and discover what they provide for their members: contact email@example.com to learn more. The Guild also offers community conversations—virtual water cooler chats—about key issues, no pre-registration required. Find them on the fourth Monday of each month, 2:00pm EDT. All who support, work in, or lead youth arts programming are welcome.
New England Conservatory’s Center for Professional Development and Performing Arts Leadership offers a two-day online workshop “Understanding El Sistema” on June 5-6, 2020. It is designed for teaching artists, administrators, and those looking to enter the creative youth development sector; faculty will include Heath Marlow (Center Director), Erik Holmgren (Mass Cultural Council) and Rodrigo Guerrero (formerly from the Mass Cultural Council), Tina Lee Hadari (Music Haven founder), Laura Jekel (MYCincinnati founder), and other featured presenters.
Two articles by Dennie Palmer Wolf of WolfBrown, one of the nation’s most respected arts learning researchers, plant significant markers in the field. “Teaching Artists as Essential Workers: Respect, Collaboration, and Heft” is a rare researcher’s recognition of the importance and vulnerability of the teaching artist workforce. She sees teaching artists as first responders and champions of social equity, pointing out what they need to thrive and—in this crisis time—to survive.
Jose Luis Hernandez, Founder/Director, Sistema Tulsa, OK
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.
The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering 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 established professional musicians. The repertoire requirements for the 24th Annual Sphinx Competition have been announced and applications have opened online.
The Lewis Prize recently announced their COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which will award $1 million in grants to support youth-serving music programs in their responsive and adaptive efforts during COVID-19. Here is a toolkit that includes more information about the fund. The application process for their annual Accelerator Award will begin as soon as the Community Response grants are awarded.
Aisha Moody, Cofounder and Chief Program Officer, Atlanta Music Project, GA
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.
The just-launched Collective Conservatory is a bold response to the pandemic crisis. Describing it as “Immersive Online Music Education,” founder Daniel Trahey and a faculty of established teaching artists, wellness advisors, and volunteer cultural ambassadors deliver holistic, customized, music-centered programs to partner organizations over the Internet. Read this issue’s Guest Perspectives column on this page to learn more from Daniel Trahey.