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Bucket Drumming with Vic Firth

Children drumming on buckets for Make Music Hartford

The Vic Firth Company, setting the standard for percussion since its inception in 1963, is generously supporting bucket drumming workshops across dozens of cities for Make Music Day 2020.

All percussionists who attend – whether in person or virtually – will be provided with a pair of Vic Firth sticks, and invited to make music together. The events will range from structured classes to free-flowing bucket drumming circles, according to the concept of each local organizer.

The goal is to spread the message that to make music, all you need is a beat in your heart… and a pair of sticks.

Click here to find a bucket drumming workshop near you!

Make Music Artist of the Week: Elliot Cole

Composer Elliot Cole and Flowerpot image

Composer Elliot Cole's music has gone everywhere. It has been performed by Grammy winners Roomful of Teeth, by incarcerated men at New York's Sing Sing Correctional Facility (where he runs a music school), and by over 250 percussion ensembles around the world.

This year for Make Music Day, his music will sing out from an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument – the flowerpot! In Flowerpot Music, bell-like tones pass from performer to performer in improvised gestures called “blooms” that sweep through the group, made up of non-musicians and musicians alike.

In a special online version of the piece, performances by over two dozen groups will be live-streamed continuously for over 8 hours on June 21. Several performance slots led by Elliot and percussionist Peter Ferry are open to participants anywhere.

Click here for more details on how to join!

25×12: Hundreds of Live Online Lessons

Illustration of a music lesson on the recorder, by Daniel Greenfeld

Make Music Day is the perfect opportunity to shake the dust off your instrument and start playing again, or to pick up an instrument for the first time.

Need a hand? On June 21, over 160 teachers and master musicians will offer free, online group lessons for 25 different instruments over the course of 12 hours (hence the name, 25×12).

You can take a beginning ukulele lesson, apply your piano skills to the pipe organ, improve your musicality on the viola, work on your percussion groove and feel, or explore hundreds of other options, from beginning to advanced, all brilliantly curated by Maggie Gould. Jump around to sample a range of instruments, or binge on your favorite.
Click here to see them all!

Make Music Artist of the Week: Judit Vincze

Producer Judit Vincze walking down the streetIn 2018 and 2019, Hungarian music producer and pianist Judit Vincze joined a select roster of DJs and producers appearing in open-air “Street Studios” around the world on Make Music Day, presented by Found Sound Nation and Harman.

Using only the audio she recorded on a plaza in Budapest, Judit created two atmospheric tracks reflecting both her cinematic sensibilities, and the musical contributions of whoever wandered by.

This year, while people around the world are staying safer at home, Judit and other producers will continue the Street Studio tradition with Bedroom Studios – live-streaming their production process from home, while creating a collaborative track with short audio clips sent in live by viewers.

Check out the full Bedroom Studios lineup here!

Sweetwater and Make Music Day

Ukulele lesson at Make Music Fort Wayne 2017We’d like to take a moment to thank Sweetwater Sound for its multi-year Make Music Day sponsorship.

Since 2016, Sweetwater has spread the word about Make Music Day to thousands of customers, who have eagerly joined Make Music celebrations around the country. Sweetwater even organized Make Music Fort Wayne for several years, bringing bands, play-alongs, and family fun to their Indiana hometown on June 21.

These days, Sweetwater’s dance card in June is filled with GearFest, taking place online June 26-27 with live music, huge deals on gear, dozens of exciting giveaways, and pro tips from your favorite brands.

But Sweetwater continues to join its customers in celebrating Make Music Day, and stands by to ship any last-minute gear that may be needed for June 21.

Visit Sweetwater online!

Make Music Country of the Week: UK

Marching band going down a sidewalk for Make Music Day UK 2019Make Music Day UK encompassed nearly 1,200 live performances in over 400 venues last year – over 8x larger than their first one in 2017!

After coordinating 132 digital performances last year, this year’s transition online was met with open arms. This June 21, Make Music Day UK will host several digital participatory projects including Bring Me Sunshine, Lockdown Sound Challenge, and the Auld Lang Syne project, which invites everyone to join a performance of one of Scotland’s most popular and enduring folk songs.

Finally, they will join five other European countries to produce Rebels With a Cause, an international music video project created by musicians ages 12 to 25. The video will premiere on June 21st at 3pm CET (9am EDT).

Check out the Make Music Day UK website for more exciting details!

World’s Smallest Marching Band

Illustration of a one person marching bandOver the past decade, dozens of Make Music Day celebrations around the country have featured the “Sousapalooza” – an invitation for hundreds of brass, wind, and percussion players to come together and sightread the music of The March King, John Philip Sousa.

In 2020, in lieu of these massive gatherings, Make Music Day will explore the other end of the scale with The World’s Smallest Marching Band. Individual brass and wind players will parade through cities on June 21, by themselves, playing band repertoire to people listening from their homes or workplaces. These Pied Pipers (without rats or children) can bring musical joy in a year when parades are far and few between.

Anyone can start their own tiny marching band! Contact Jonah Udall at jonah@makemusicday.org to get started.

Make Music Artists of the Week: John Bertles and Carina Piaggio

John Bertles in a video explaining the balloon drumsSince 1988, scientist-musicians John Bertles and Carina Piaggio have invented and composed for orchestras of strange-looking but great-sounding musical instruments made from reused and repurposed materials.

Today, their organization Bash The Trash Environmental Arts reaches nearly 60,000 students, teachers and adults each year through their workshops, performances, festivals, and professional development sessions.

This Make Music Day, join John and Carina in raising awareness about trash pollution by building fun instruments from found objects! (If you need some strings, free used guitar strings will be sent to you upon request thanks to D’Addario’s Playback String Recycling program.) Once you’ve built your instruments, use them to play “Ode to Joy” or “Baby Shark” — your choice — and post your performances with the #BashTheTrash hashtag.

For detailed instrument building videos and instructions, and info on a live Bash The Trash session on June 21, visit our website.

Hohner Harmonica Hangouts

Girl playing harmonica at Make Music San DiegoOur deepest thanks goes to Make Music Day partner Hohner, a longtime leader in the harmonica field.

For the eighth straight year, Hohner is generously providing thousands of free harmonicas to dozens of cities for Make Music Day, allowing countless first-time players to start developing their skills to make music throughout the year.

In this socially distanced time, local Make Music chapters are organizing online hangouts for harmonica players, distributing free instruments through local restaurant delivery services, and finding all sorts of creative ways to keep harmonica events going strong on June 21.

Stay in touch with your local chapter to find out what’s planned near you!