The World Ensemble
Dear Subscriber,

Here is your March Resource Basket. If you are self-isolating in order to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic, please use some of your extra time to click through and explore these developments in the field. They will focus your energy in a positive way and help you feel more connected to the world around you. And please stay tuned for a special basket later this week that will offer additional resources designed to help the field cope with this global pandemic.

Thank you, stay safe, and take care of each other,
Best Wishes from The WE Team, 
Tricia Tunstall, Executive Editor 
Patrick Scafidi, Managing Editor
Ryan Welsh, Associate Editor 
Longy School of Music of Bard College, Publisher 
Helping Young People Understand COVID-19
Artists who work in communities and schools are being affected by public health policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Hong Kong, El Sistema Hong Kong students and teachers are required to stay in their homes. The same is true now in Italy. In other countries, programs are on alert, many closing even as we send out this issue. Remember to be extra careful—you have heard the health advice. If your students are being thoughtless in their hygiene care, this video might help.

This NPR segment and comic strip is also useful for adults looking to explain COVID-19 to students and young people who are trying to understand the changing world. The comic is available in English and Chinese. 

Finally—when in doubt, cancel everything. Though this article views the COVID-19 pandemic through an American lens, its takeaways apply to teachers and program leaders across the world. The latest issue of the GenC newsletter —part of the Campaign for a Creative Generation—also contains good advice for programs dealing creatively with the COVID-19 epidemic . For conductors, teaching artists, and young musicians, canceling concerts is an unhappy—but a necessary—last resort.

With so many concert halls and opera houses closing their doors, orchestras and philharmonics have taken to live-streaming their performances. See which ones you might want to "attend" here .
New Priority for the Arts and Culture in the African Union
The year 2021 is likely to become the African Union’s first Year of Culture. During the recent 33rd Assembly of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), 12 heads of state were invited to act as co-champions of the cause by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, who is the current African Union leader for Arts, Culture, and Heritage. They will spearhead the systematic integration of culture, arts, and heritage into the African Union’s development agenda. The arts and culture have historically been overlooked as contributors to achieving social-economic goals across the continent, but that is now changing. 

Online Tools to Engage Young Students in Musical Fundamentals
Carnegie Hall's Musical Explorers is designed to connect students in grades K–2 (roughly ages 5–7) to rich and diverse musical communities as they build fundamental music skills through listening, singing, and moving to songs from all over the world. The entire curriculum is free and available to users anywhere in the world, but registered users receive additional materials to aid in their teaching. Here is a map of the musicians around the world who are featured in the program. Find out more about Musical Explorers here. This is an excellent way to prepare students to enter El Sistema programs, activating their eagerness to explore music by encouraging them to make it themselves.
International SIMM-posium on Researching the Social Impact of Music-Making
The 5th annual SIMM-posium, scheduled for December 18–19, 2020 in Brussels, will bring together researchers and practitioners involved in critical research on the social impacts of music-making (SIMM). This annual international meeting builds a professional network of researchers who work to deepen our understanding of active participatory music-making—specifically its social benefits across diverse groups and contexts. This year’s SIMM-posium is organized in collaboration with (and at) the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR). SIMM’s international research platform operates as an independent scholarly association and involves institutional partners in various countries and continents. SIMM also works on collaborative research training seminars as well as the development of international comparative research, under the guidance of international experts in the field. 

Practitioners and policymakers interested in research are invited to apply to attend, though formal presentations are limited to those actively involved in research. The deadline for proposals and expressions of interest is June 1, 2020. Applications should be sent to Alexandra Gelhay. More information is available online.

Make Music Day, June 21: A Worldwide Celebration
It all started 37 years ago in France, and now over a thousand cities around the world participate in Make Music Day (MMD) on June 21. In 1982, France’s Ministry of Culture dreamed up a new kind of musical holiday where free, live music could be enjoyed everywhere: street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, store fronts and mountaintops. Unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone was invited to join and play music or host performances. The event took place on the summer solstice, June 21, and they called it Fête de la Musique. (When spoken in French, the name can sound like both “festival of music” and “make music!”) Today, the Fête is a true national holiday. France shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over; almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique.

Make Music Day is celebrated in 120 countries across the world. Is your country involved? El Sistema–inspired programs can join the fun (if there is already activity in your city), or you can take a lead in your city and invite others to join your Make Music event. Everything you need to know is available on the website.

There are also special projects you might join—like Mass Appeal, where a crowd of musicians who all play the same instrument join one another, or Street Studio, when a recording studio is set up in a public place. MMD celebrates the values that Sistema programs bring to their students—joy in music, community around music, and fun. 
New (and World's Largest) Impact Investment Fund for the Creative Arts
Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), based in the UK, has launched the world's biggest impact investment fund for the creative arts: the £20 million Arts & Culture Impact Fund. This blog explains the opportunity and how you can apply. From now until spring 2023, the fund will make affordable, flexible loans (from £25,000 to £1 million) available to arts, culture, and heritage organizations that have a positive social impact on people and their communities. 

Applicants must clearly outline how their work positively affects the lives of individuals and their communities. Nesta will help, working closely with organizations to strengthen their impact-monitoring and evaluation capabilities. Nesta’s impact investment funds have supported organizations such as InHouse Records, a fully functional record label launched by prisoners to promote rehabilitation and creative expression

An Interview with Lewis Prize Awardee Sebastian Ruth
GenC’s recent newsletter offers an interview with Sebastian Ruth. Ruth is an awardee in the first round of substantial grants from The Lewis Prize for social change through music. His thoughts about using music learning (including in the El Sistema–inspired program that is a part of Community MusicWorks) for true social change are worth exploring. Here is a sample from the interview with Creative Generation: 

Sebastian Ruth: The main advice I would have for anyone working on social change ideas is that the core work needs to be within each of us. None of us works in the abstract, and none of our positions are neutral. I think we always need to be investigating our own assumptions, biases, and motivations, to be sure that our work is truly in service of people and their needs.  

This is not to say that good work shouldn’t be fulfilling and joyous for those doing the service—in our field of music-making, the best work happens when there is a collective joy and fulfillment. But we should always be conscious of what our work means and whose needs are being met. 
Thank you for reading! 

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