the ensemble

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

ArtPlace Annual Summit

10-07-2020

ArtPlace America celebrates its 10th year as a collaboration among foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that support and strengthen a field of creative placemaking—the field that increasingly uses artists in planning and developing equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. To celebrate, ArtPlace is offering its annual Summit virtually (October 26-30) and for free this year (you must register); it includes over 50 sessions, and affinity groups you can join to engage personally.

Continuing to Make Music, One Virtual Video at a Time

10-06-2020

Like programs all over the country, Make Music NOLA (MMN) was forced in March 2020 to quickly reinvent our programs for virtual learning. For our after-school students, we created weekly video lessons designed to take the place of their music theory, chamber ensemble, and fiddle classes. But these videos weren’t workable for the 100 students we reach through in-school programming—who attend several different charter schools, were doing remote learning through different systems, and, because of the abruptness of school closures, didn’t even have instruments at home.

Music as a Birthright in Elkhart County

10-06-2020

In Elkhart County, Indiana, our goal is to provide all people with equitable access to quality music education from birth to young adulthood. We believe music is a birthright for every child in our community—that the extraordinary benefits of music education should be built into the fabric of every young person’s upbringing. It’s not a coincidence that the name of our program, ECoSistema (Elkhart County El Sistema), means “ecosystem” in Spanish: we believe that the El Sistema-inspired field can have the greatest impact when we take the overlapping systems already in place in our community and build music into them.

Editorial: September 2020

09-01-2020

Since March 13, life has changed drastically. Arts institutions and businesses across the country shut down. Schools emptied. Everyone turned to the internet for visibility, accessibility, and relevance.

Creating an Anti-Racist World

08-04-2020

As I write this, the rapid increase in global coronavirus cases telegraphs the continuation of online learning in the fall for most schools around the United States. The video of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, reminiscent of the visual horror of Emmett Till’s murder in August of 1955, has ignited peaceful protests around the world that have contributed to changes in American society we were sure we’d never see: the renaming of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, the removal of the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag, the banning of the Confederate flag by NASCAR and the Pentagon. All segments of society, including the arts and arts education, have been called to reflect on the reality of white supremacy, systemic racism, and our individual and collective bigotry that resists empathizing with or listening to the truth of anyone but ourselves.

Editorial: August 2020

08-04-2020

For me, as for many, the pandemic has been a time of Janus-like reflection—simultaneously looking back and making plans for the future. I’ve been reflecting about the early years of the El Sistema movement in the United States: we were driven by Maestro Abreu winning the 2009 TED Prize, the fiery Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the appointment of Gustavo Dudamel to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the growing media attention on El Sistema. We had that fire-in-the-belly impetus to found new organizations across the country, with dreams of a new wave of music education.

Tool Kit for Rethinking Funding Strategies

07-07-2020

If your program is rethinking its fundraising strategies in this new economic landscape, you may want to consult the experts: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (the major publication for the field) recently published a Tool Kit for fundraising during the pandemic.

“Beyond the Board Statement,” an Article from Nonprofit Quarterly

07-07-2020

Many music for social change organizations want to respond to racial justice demands in every way they can, and engaging their Boards is a common strategy. A good, free, two-part webinar series from Nonprofit Quarterly shares effective ways to involve your Board: “Beyond the Board Statement: How Can Boards Join the Movement for Racial Justice?” See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Cultural Equity Learning Center

07-07-2020

The Cultural Equity Learning Community (CELC) is open to arts leaders committed to building racial equity and justice in the arts. Geared toward white-identifying arts leaders and/or those working in predominately white institutions, the two-unit online course offers a go-at-your-own pace learning path with complementary wraparound learning supports. The course seeks to reduce harm toward BIPOC leaders in the arts and culture sector, increase skill sets and accountability of white arts sector leaders, examine what it means to build anti-racist co-conspiratorship, and more.

Decolonizing the Music Room

07-07-2020

Decolonizing the Music Room is a non-profit organization aiming to use research, training, and discourse to help music educators center the voices and experiences of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people to challenge European and White American practices. Resources include suggested reading, podcasts, firsthand accounts from other music educators, video blogs, and more. Join this ongoing process of learning, reflection, and growth.

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