Culturally-Responsive Teaching

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

Codi’r To: El Sistema in Wales, and in Welsh

12-02-2020

Codi’r To (Welsh for “raising the roof”) is a Welsh-language community project that delivers the world-renowned El Sistema program in areas of multiple deprivation in North Wales. Specifically, we seek to tackle disadvantage and educational underachievement in two communities of multiple deprivation. We hope to provide inspiration and transformation for children, families, schools, and communities, changing lives for the better through music.

Cultural Equity Resource Center Recently Launched by Americans for the Arts

11-04-2020

Americans for the Arts has launched a Cultural Equity Resource Center. Like their widely used Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center, this will be updated regularly with information about programming, resources, and news to assist all in achieving our racial/social justice goals. They will keep adding to it—upcoming is a directory of equity consultants and service providers. If you have a resource to add, let them know.

A Collection of Resources in Support of Black Lives Matter from Chamber Music America

11-04-2020

The staff of Chamber Music America has compiled a collection of resources in support of Black Lives Matter to advance anti-racist work in the music community. You can also find BLM support resources from Creative Capital.

True Cultural Responsiveness

09-01-2020

When the pandemic exposed our nation, much of our work evaporated, leaving us only with what we have done, what we planned to do, and the reality of where we are. Undistracted, we began to address systemic racism with the urgency and furious passion it deserved. My heart swelled to see friends from all backgrounds join the fight, vocally and physically. With no gigs and a shrinking amount of teaching artist work, I felt less afraid of being blacklisted and freer to eradicate systemic racism.

Lessons in Listening

08-05-2020

Buffalo Public School #45 is the go-to public school for newly arrived refugees in Buffalo, NY. Speaking dozens of different languages and dialects, many of the school’s students are displaced from countries across the world. As we sat down in front of them, we introduced ourselves, our instruments, and the music we were about to play. Our audience was quiet, even distant. But as we placed our bows on our strings and the first notes emerged, everything changed.

Centering Students in Their Own Mythologies

08-04-2020

Myth and drums are a potent combination. I first encountered the use of drums in men’s circles when I attended a workshop for a rites of passage group led by Dr. Kwa David Whittaker—Nana Kwa, one of my eventual mentors. After I witnessed him playing the djembe drum while relating a powerful story to the group, I knew I wanted to find a way to incorporate the drum into my own work. Before long, I was down in the basement of my house, alone, practicing drumming while reciting mythological stories.

Case Study on Cultural Humility from Institute for Music Leadership

04-07-2020

Buffalo String Works in Buffalo, NY has worked with refugee students from Afghanistan, Burma, Eritrea, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Though inspired by the international El Sistema model, the organization faced plenty of cultural hurdles in working to serve the diverse population. Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership has written a case study examining the early years of BSW as it worked to adapt to the needs of the community. Read more to learn how they strived for “cultural humility” and musical excellence simultaneously—these lessons in inclusion can be applied to all programs, no matter their makeup.

Crossing Borders: A Musical Passport to the World

04-07-2020

Each spring, the students of BRAVO Youth Orchestras in Portland, Oregon take the stage alongside professional musicians with international backgrounds in a celebration of the world of music called Crossing Borders. BRAVO’s young musicians have played jigs from Ireland, lullabies from Morocco, bossa novas from Brazil, Latin pop from Mexico, a French-Canadian fiddle concerto, and so much more. Their professional collaborators have included jazz pianist Darrell Grant, electric looping violinist Joe Kye, Trinidadian neo-soul singer Blossom, and world-renowned Irish fiddler Kevin Burke, among others. Crossing Borders is a highlight of BRAVO’s program year and also serves as our primary fundraising event, generating needed revenue to support our rigorous after-school music programs in priority schools. Our audiences are delighted to see a full student orchestra (strings, winds, and percussion) playing music from so many traditions alongside their professional musical partners.

Music of the African Diaspora from Atlanta Music Project

02-04-2020

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.

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