About Make Music

Winter Is Coming!

Announcing a new annual celebration: Make Music Winter! Like Make Music Day on June 21, Make Music Winter is a free, outdoor, participatory musical event that turns audiences into music makers. Since 2011, it has been organized in New York City each December 21 – the shortest day of the year – with twelve musical parades around the city, open for all to join. This year, Make Music Winter is spreading nationwide. Join a parade near you, or start up one of your own!

December 21: Make Music Winter

After years of spontaneous musical merriment on June 21, we are thrilled to bring the spirit of Make Music Day to December 21, the winter solstice.

For Make Music Winter, music can pop up anywhere. Rounding the corner, you may see a herd of electric guitarists, a choir of medieval singers, or a percussive Puerto Rican parranda coming down the street. Ingenious musical parades for iPhones, hand bells, bicycles, trombones, and boomboxes have delighted audiences since New York City began celebrating Make Music Winter in 2011.

Whatever your wintertime musical dreams, anything is possible. And all of it is free, joyful, and profoundly participatory.

Come on out and join the parades! Click here to sign up.

Make Music Winter is presented by The NAMM Foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Make Music Winter, first launched in New York in 2011, is a free, outdoor musical event each December 21st that turns audiences into music makers. The celebration transforms the city soundscape with participatory musical parades on the winter solstice. It is open to any musical genre.
Nationally, Make Music Winter is coordinated by the Make Music Alliance, with support from the NAMM Foundation. In each city, local artists, presenters, nonprofits, businesses, and others organize their individual parades. You can do one, too!
All of the Make Music Winter events are free – there is no charge for participants or audiences. There is no cost for organizing an event, either, and you are free to use the logos, handbooks, and marketing materials provided on this website. You do not have to be a member of the Make Music Alliance or of NAMM to organize an event.
Generally, yes – they are mobile, participatory events.

Unlike a traditional parade, most Make Music Winter events stay on the sidewalks. Some march through a park or along an elevated rail line, or ride on bicycles, or take place on train cars and platforms. However you do it, being mobile brings music throughout your city, and helps you stay warm in the winter weather.

Make Music Winter events are also participatory. This means that everyone is invited to be part of the music-making, whether by singing, playing an instrument, tap dancing, carrying a boombox, or whatever the event calls for.

Each one is different. For some, you need to bring a particular instrument, or download sheet music or an iPhone app in advance; for others, you can just show up. All of them feature some way to musically participate; check out the description of each event before you go.
Unlike Make Music Day on June 21, Make Music Winter is a series of mobile, participatory events. If you have an ensemble that can play while walking in the winter, and you want to lead a participatory event, get in touch with us (aaron@makemusicday.org). On the other hand, if you need to plug in instruments or stay in one place, you’ll probably need to wait until June.
That’s great to hear!

Start by reading through the handbooks to learn how five successful Make Music Winter events have been organized in the past. You are welcome to replicate these events, use them as jumping off points, or to come up with something completely new.

Whatever you decide, get in touch with us by email at aaron@makemusicday.org and let us know what you are planning. We can give advice, answer questions, and include your event on our website and in our national PR campaign for Make Music Winter.

2018 Make Music Winter Schedule

These free events, open to all, will take place on Friday December 21, 2018. New events are added daily, please check back for updates!


Make Music Winter Videos


These step-by-step handbooks explain how to produce five of the most popular Make Music Winter events. Use the handbooks to bring these parades to your city, or as inspiration for your own creative winter ideas!


Download the Make Music Winter logo in a variety of formats (.ai, .eps, .pdf, and .png).

Marketing Materials

Use these images on your website or social media to promote your Make Music Winter event across your city, at your venue, or to your followers! Each version comes pre-formatted for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, along with a large-scale web banner.


Press Release: Make Music Winter 2017 Announces Full Schedule, December 5, 2017

Sprawling Across New York, a Solstice Music Marathon,” by Zachary Woolfe, Anthony Tommasini, Joshua Barone, and James R. Oestreich, New York Times, December 22, 2017
New York Today: The Year in (Good) News,” by Jonathan Wolfe, New York Times, December 21, 2017
‘Making music in Montclair’ to open winter,” by Ricardo Kaulessar, NorthJersey.com, December 19, 2017
Performers Make Music In The Streets,” NY1 News, December 21, 2017
8 festive things to do in NYC on Christmas weekend,” by T. Michelle Murphy, Metro New York, December 21, 2017
The five best free things to do in NYC this week,” Time Out New York, December 20, 2017
Editor’s Arts and Culture Picks Monday–Wednesday (Dec. 18–20),” Flavorpill, December 18, 2017
What to Do in New York This December: Tree Lighting Skate-tacular & Hip Hop Nutcracker,” by Katherine Martinelli, AFAR, November 29, 2017
18 great things to do this weekend,” Staten Island Advance, December 19, 2017
11 epic things to do with kids before the New Year!,” by Allie Early, Time Out New York Kids, November 21, 2017
Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: December GoList,” by Maureen Dempsey, Mommy Poppins, November 26, 2017
Take part in a jazz parade through Kew Gardens during Make Music Winter on Dec. 21,” by Emily Davenport, QNS.com, December 14, 2017
Five things to do in Brooklyn, Dec. 15–21,” Brooklyn Paper, December 15, 2017
Winter Music Events Brighten Up Tomorrow’s Solstice,” by Paul Stremple, Bklyner, December 20, 2017
Thursday: Put On Your Headlamps and Make a Singing Pilgrimage Through Riverside Park,” West Side Rag, December 19, 2017

Solstice Serenades in New York City for Make Music Winter,” by Teddy Wayne, New York Times, December 23rd, 2016
In Make Music Winter, Critics Find Their Inner Yodelers And Pilgrims,” by Corrina da Fonseca-Wollheim, Vivien Schweitzer & Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, December 22, 2015
NYC Event Marks Winter Solstice With Music Parades,” by Deepti Hajela, Associated Press, December 19, 2014
In SoHo, the Buildings Become Drums,” by Andy Battaglia, Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2014
Ride Along with Blink, A Composition For Bicycle Bells,” by Araby Williams, Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2013
A Romp, Meant to Ring in the Cold, Feels Like Spring,” by Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, December 22, 2013
On a Solstice, Music Can Pop Up Anywhere,” by Daniel J. Wakin, Anthony Tommasini, Zachary Woolfe, and Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, December 23, 2012
All Across the City, Coming Together to Make Joyful Noise,” by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, December 19, 2012 [LINK]
Marching to Their Own Drummers,” by Daniel J. Wakin, Anthony Tommasini, Zachary Woolfe, Allan Kozinn, and Steve Smith, New York Times, December 23, 2011

Make Music Winter Photos

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