May 2021

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

A Tale of Two Cities: Istanbul and Leipzig

05-05-2021

It may not seem geographically possible, but there is an invisible bridge between Istanbul and Leipzig: the bridge that connects the children of Barış İçin Müzik (Music for Peace) and the children of Kinderchor der Oper Leipzig (Children’s Choir of Oper Leipzig). Their friendship dates back to 2014, when Oper Leipzig, with the support of Turkey’s ENKA Foundation, came to Istanbul and visited the youth orchestra program Barış İçin Müzik. This visit led to two joint camp experiences, one in Leipzig (2016) and one in Istanbul (2020), with the total participation of over 150 children. The message created by the children was strong and clear: Peace.

Bridging Divides at the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company

05-05-2021

If you stroll through the University of Johannesburg’s campus on a Tuesday night, you will hear strains of music floating over the evening air, from Mascagni to Dvorak and Faure to Mozart.

Those sounds are the work of the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, the senior ensemble of the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company (JYOC) whose members range from primary school children to students in their 20s. The young musicians come from all over the city and province, from all races, classes, and income groups in a country with the greatest wealth gap in the world.

Orchestras of the Venezuelan Diaspora

05-05-2021

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 5.4 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide—one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Many among these are former students, teachers, and leaders of El Sistema, Venezuela’s national youth orchestra program, founded by Maestro José Antonio Abreu in 1975; this growing diaspora has been shaping and enriching cultures in host countries. Displaced Venezuelans continue to make beautiful music, and not just as teachers and solo performers. Across the world, Venezuelan-founded orchestras continue to pop up, no less technically brilliant than those that made El Sistema a globally adapted model. One article in the magazine Guataca, which promotes Venezuelan music and musical initiatives around the world, reminds us of that continuing legacy.

Global Teaching Artistry Models: Ideas for Reflection

05-05-2021

Artists’ careers will likely undergo considerable transformation over the next decades, as those trained in arts disciplines increasingly invent their own pathways for the future. As the arts expand their mission to include delivering social impact, not only will artists flourish in new contexts, but also, society may well be repositioned to build richer perspectives around the value of the arts and artists in the world.

The Núcleo as a Safe Space: Continuity, Discontinuity, Contrast

05-05-2021

As a sociologist of arts and culture, I have spent the last 12 years of my professional life studying how music education may serve as a tool for education and social emancipation to youth in socio-economically deprived territories. Though I am a musician (drummer and percussionist), my particular interest is in not only the music teaching methods, but also, more broadly, all the social interactions that happen in and around a núcleo, and how they contribute to the potentially transformative effects on the lives of young people.

Midcasting* Toward Just Futures: Creative Youth Development’s Waymaking to Systems Change through and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

05-04-2021

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, creative youth development (CYD) organizations have been expanding their work to provide greater support to students, families, and communities impacted by the pandemic. To strengthen this response from the field, The Lewis Prize for Music offered a COVID-19 Response grant to 32 organizations of varying size and geographic locations. Totaling 1.25 million dollars, the fund supported organizations that were leading direct response efforts in their communities. These efforts offered mental health support, food access, housing security, civic engagement support, and academic support, among other things, alongside digital adaptation of regular program activities. Additionally, many CYD organizations supported youth engagement in various forms of movement-building, including, but not limited to, the Black Lives Matter movement and work against voter suppression.

Rebuilding Your Program? You May Need Different Tools

05-04-2021

My Papa grew up on the oil fields of Northern Michigan in the 1940s. He learned quickly the importance of working smarter, not harder; when anybody was faced with a challenge he would say, “Get a bigger hammer, son.” For a long time, I didn’t understand what it meant. But this year, the Kalamazoo Kids In Tune staff and I have leaned into this idea more than ever.

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