The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
Do you have a budding composer in your program (or an alumna/us)? Let them know about the NAfME Student Composer’s Competition. If your students aren’t ready this year, they can listen to recent winning compositions on the website, in the symphonic or reed quartet categories. All submissions get a written evaluation of the work, and 10 winners get cash prizes and performances. Applications are due by March 27. Entry instructions are here.
The Lewis Prize for Music 2020 Awardees have been announced. The Lewis Prize believes that music in the lives of young people is a catalytic force to drive positive change in society. Each of the awardees is doing exemplary work to build community, foster engaged citizens and support the holistic growth of young people through music. Learn more about the ten inspiring changemakers here. A special congratulations to Lewis Prize 2020 Awardee Sebastian Ruth, Founder and Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks. Sebastian recently penned The Ensemble’s editorial in November, which you can read here. His Lewis Prize will support a new alumni fellowship and leadership of the MusicWorks Network of community-based music programs, which collaborate across the eastern United States to spread and deepen the work with and for the youth they serve.
The Sphinx Organization has announced programming for the Sphinx Performance Academy (SPA) 2020. SPA will collaborate with Curtis Institute of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and The Juilliard School to offer full-scholarship intensive summer chamber music and solo performance programs for violin, viola, cello and bass players, ages 11-17. The SPA curriculum includes lessons, coachings, master classes, recitals, career enrichment sessions and mentorship, tailored for each student. Applications are due by noon EST, Tuesday February 11, 2020. Learn more about dates and details here.
The application deadline for the YOLA National Festival has been extended until February 17. To apply to the Symphony Orchestra or the Chamber Orchestra, or for more information, click here. The two-week intensive of learning, rehearsal and performance with world-renowned conductors and artist mentors is free. Travel, lodging, meals and programming are provided to students at no cost. Send questions to: YOLA@laphil.org.
What are the most important habits of an effective teacher? Do you use all these habits in your daily teaching? Note that being good at explaining things is not that important to writer Carrie Lam. Her article is available here.
Socio-emotional learning (SEL) is increasingly seen as an essential component of success for students in El Sistema-inspired programs. SEL skills like self-awareness, self-management, interpersonal relating skills, and responsible decision-making are naturally developed in strong programs, becoming key to students’ success in fulfilling their life ambitions in or outside of music. Teachers know that to help young people develop these skills, they need intentionality and strong support from families. The Social Emotional Learning Toolkit: Family Engagement is a new guide from Move This World, and may be particularly helpful to you. The 50-page report is practical-minded, aiming to provide everything you need to bring families into active support in strengthening SEL in students.
A Canadian study of educational records for more than 110,000 high school students reports that children who had engaged in school-based music activities or music education showed greater academic achievement than did children who had not engaged in music. These differences, which appear independent of demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as prior academic history, were especially acute for students who played instrumental music versus those who did not. The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, highlight potential differences in executive functioning, “motivation-related characteristics,” and social-personal development as pathways enabling greater academic achievement for music participants. A summary of the study by Forbes is available here.
During February, Black History Month, the Atlanta Music Project (AMP) will perform a month-long, seven-concert series showcasing the music of the African diaspora. The new series celebrates the vast musical contributions made by Africans and descendants of Africa, combining the history and tradition of African music with its modern-day influence and cultural relevance. Pieces to be performed include Shosholoza, an Nguni song from South Africa; The Battle of Jericho, a spiritual arranged by Moses Hogan; and Alegre, by Cuban composer Tania León. In addition, classical music written by composers of African descent, such as Joseph Boulogne (also known as The Black Mozart) and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, will be performed.
Zachary Bush, Co-Founder, Leading Tones Music, LLC
How to find repertoire that excites our students and invites inclusion of their many different skill levels? The Harmony Project Phoenix (HPP) has been exploring this question in the course of a several-year partnership with Arizona State University (ASU).
At Sistema New Brunswick (NB) on Canada’s east coast, we’ve recently faced a unique challenge with broad implications: How best to integrate students of disparate languages into one program? What began in 2009 with one centre and 50 children has grown to over 1,200 children daily, in ten locations, all learning and playing orchestral music. Until September 2019, however, all of these students worked in their own districts, using their own languages.