Make Music


Spotlight Events 2019

Spotlight Events are FREE participatory events happening in Hartford on June 21st during Make Music Hartford. Take music lessons, participate in a jam session or just enjoy the music! 

Free Lessons: 

Bucket Drumming Lessons

10am – 10:45am

Riverfront Recapture, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, Hartford
Learn basic rhythm patterns and make music with buckets. Drummers Kirk Woodard and Jimmy Gavagan will lead lessons in different locations around the city that day. Drumsticks and buckets will be provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own to make the group bigger. Anyone is welcome to participate. No drumming or musical experience necessary!

Hip Hop Lyric Workshop

11am – 12:30pm

Hartford Public Library – Main Branch, Main Street, Hartford 
Create community connections and lyrical pieces that speak to your passions. Workshop leaders Ryan Parker and Justis Lopez will perform, engage the group in a Hip Hop meditation, create freestyles over break-beats, and lead a lyrical writing session with a focus on social justice. The session will close with a mini open mic where we will spit what we create and celebrate our lyrical brilliance as a hip hop family of artists and change makers!  

Harmonica Lessons and Blues Performance

11:30am – 1:30pm

Riverfront Recapture, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, Hartford
Come on down to the riverfront and play the harmonica with us! Never played a harmonica before? Tim Quinn will give an introductory lesson to those new to the harmonica! Hohner is donating 100 harmonicas for those who don’t have their own.  Come by, pick up a harmonica while they last, and get a free lesson from Tim Quinn followed by a Chicago electric blues performance that will get you on your feet dancing.

Guitar Lessons

1:30pm – 2:30pm

Camp Field Branch of the Hartford Public Library, 30 Campfield Ave. Hartford
Interested in learning how to play the guitar or would you like to brush up on your guitar skills with a private mini-lesson? Guitar teachers Jeremy Galloway, Dylan Healy, and Oscar Godoy will be available to teach small group or private lessons to guitar players of all abilities and folks who’ve never picked up a guitar. Free song books provided by Martin Guitars and Alfred Music while supplies last. Ten acoustic guitars will be available to play during the lessons. You are welcome to bring your own guitar or try out one of the guitars generously donated by the Charter Oak Cultural Center. Lessons are free and open to all ages and abilities.


Bucket Drumming Lessons

3pm – 3:45pm 

Willie Ware Community Center, Windsor Ave, Hartford
Learn basic rhythm patterns and make music with buckets. Drummers Kirk Woodard and Jimmy Gavagan will lead lessons in different locations around the city that day. Drumsticks and buckets will be provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own to make the group bigger. Anyone is welcome to participate. No drumming or musical experience necessary!

No Mercy – Hip Hop Dance Lessons and Live Music

3pm – 4:30pm 

Arroyo Rec Center, Pope Park, Hartford
No Mercy is a heart pounding, foot stomping Hip Hop class of raw adrenaline! No dance background necessary. Open to everyone. Learn some moves from Hartford choreographer Savana Jones, and then show us what you’ve got during a performance by a live funk band. 


Salsa Social

5pm – 8pm  

Pratt Street, Downtown Hartford
Dance like everyone is watching or come down to Pratt Street and just enjoy the sights and sounds of salsa music. Live DJ sets, giveaways, and literally hundreds of people dancing in the street on a gorgeous summer night. We’re so excited that the Hartford Business Improvement Districts first Salsa Social of 2019 falls on June 21st. We’ll keep our Pratt Street Music Hub going through the dance party! 

Yoga Class and Heart Chant

5:30pm – 7pm 

56 Arbor Street, Hartford (on the lawn located behind the building)
Join Vasu Studio in a yoga class with music, followed by the Heart Chant, happening in dozens of cities across the country on June 21st. Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) wrote the Heart Chant as a response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The event invites and and all to participate in creating community through sound. No musical training required. Bring a mat/towel and water bottle to participate in a free yoga class led by instructor Sara Balkun, with music performed by Steve Balkun. Anyone is welcome to stay to participate in the Heart Chant. The Heart Chant is open to participants who do not attend the yoga class.


pBuzz Workshop

Time TBD

Hartford Public Library – Albany Branch
Hartford is going to be buzzing with the sounds of plastic instruments on June 21st. Thanks to Warwick Music, pBuzz instruments are coming to our capitol city. Similar to a brass instrument like a trombone or a trumpet, pBuzz is a light weight, plastic instrument that is great for a first time musician. Brightly colored pBuzz instruments are specially designed for the hands of little musicians, but anyone is welcome to try. John Mundy, trombonist from Hartford’s own West End Blend will teach the basics on how to use the instrument and everyone can participate in a performance at the end. Family-friendly. Everyone is welcome. 


Family Activities:

Latin Song Sing Along

12pm – 1pm

Bushnell Park Carousel, Hartford 
Sing, dance, clap and play along to familiar Latin songs including Guantanamera, Oye Como Va, La Bamba, Cielito Lindo and more. Dave Giardina will teach the lyrics and rhythms of the songs. Dave will also play guitar alongside a fellow musician on violin. All are welcome. No experience necessary. You can sing along, dance, and enjoy.


Industrial Music Roadshow

12pm – 1pm – 

Old State House Farmers Market, Main Street, Hartford 
The Industrial Music Roadshow is a collaboration between the New Britain Industrial Museum and Make Music Hartford. Using artifacts from the museum’s collection, participants will be able to create sounds and ultimately music with objects that tell the story of Connecticut’s industrial past.


Kazoo Parade

1pm – 1:45pm 

Pratt Street, Hartford
When was the last time you gathered with dozens of strangers to play the kazoo? Chion Wolf returns to Pratt Street with the Make Music Hartford Kazoo Parade on June 21st.Free kazoos will be handed out to the first 100 people who attend! Come down to Pratt Street, grab a kazoo, and hum a tune with us. Afterwards, bring the kazoo back to the office or back home and keep the music going! Anyone is welcome to participate. 


Drum Circle

1:30pm – 2:30pm 

Park Street Branch of Hartford Public Library, Park Street, Hartford
Percussionists and educators, Jocelyn Pleasant and Nelson Bello, will use percussion to showcase West African and Latin rhythms.  They will share their music, demonstrate different drums, and welcome the community to play. Bring your own drum or use one of the drums in the circle. No experience required. All ages welcome.


Improv Musical Comedy Show

3:45pm – 4:45pm 

Barbour Street Branch of the Hartford Public Library, 261 Barbour Street, Hartford
The comedians of Sea Tea Improv Comedy Theater will create a one of a kind musical comedy on-the-spot using suggestions from the audience. We’re combining comedy and music in this hour-long, family-friendly show. Bring your chair or blanket and enjoy the show. The actors will be looking for suggestions from the audience so you can help create the musical!


Sliders Story Time

4:30pm – 5:15pm 

Parker Memorial Community Center, 2621 Main Street, Hartford
Join us to learn about (and participating in) African dancing and drumming and traditional African games and music as we recreate the fable of Anansi and the Chameleon. For kids of all ages and their grownups. Brought to you by Jackie Harris Stone of Toots and Sliders Musical Tales.


Musician Events


12pm – 1pm 

Connecticut’s Old State House, 800 Main Street, Hartford (on the grassy side of the building)
Were you in marching band in school or do you play a brass or woodwind instrument? Get together with a group of friends and strangers to play the music of The March King, John Philip Sousa! Our friends at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School are partnering with us to conduct the group. You won’t want to miss being a part of the band or seeing the performance! Conducted by Alan Francis. 

Come by with your instrument and join the band! It’s easiest if you download and print your own sheet music to match your instrument (repertoire coming soon!). Bring your own music stand (a limited number will be available). Some chairs will be provided. Audience members are welcome to just enjoy the music! Musicians are encouraged to RSVP so the conductor can better prepare:

Build Your Own Beat

12pm – 1:30pm 

Hartford Public Library Main Branch (main floor), 500 Main Street, Hartford 
Tapeworks, Inc. is bringing a mobile beat-making station to downtown Hartford. Using studio equipment you can record a beat and contribute to the soundtrack of Make Music Hartford. Lyricists and vocalists can rap or sing over beats made by the community or that they make themselves at the station. No experience necessary. All are welcome to participate.


Jazz Jam Session

12pm – 1:30pm 

Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery, 1344 Albany Avenue, Hartford 
Jazz fans and fellow musicians are welcome to participate in the Make Music Hartford Jazz Jam Session led by Hartford-based jazz pianist Mike Carabello. The band will kick off the event with a selection of standards and originals, followed by a jam session. Come by to enjoy the music, pick up some lunch at the bakery, and sit in with the band. Musicians bring your instruments.


Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” Workshop and Performance

2:15pm – 3:15pm 

St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, 285 Church Street, Hartford
Hartford Chorale’s music director, Richard Coffey, along with members of the Chorale itself, presents “A Taste of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.” The presentation includes a “mini rehearsal” of three thrilling excerpts from the choral finale of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and then the presentation of those excerpts in an informal concert design. Members of the community are invited to participate either by singing within the “pop-up” chorus or simply by observing how the Chorale rehearses and listening to the final product. Singers are asked to RSVP to (subject line: “MMHH B9” please include name, voice type, and if you would like to borrow a score in your email)


Basses Loaded

4pm – 5pm 

Burr Mall, under Alexander Calder’s Stegosaurus sculpture, between 550 and 600 Main Street, Hartford 
Enjoy the low sounds of 8 to 12 upright bass players gathered together. Bassist Matt Dwonszyk will arrange strictly bass music for upright bass players in a sight that will be worth seeing and hearing. If you are an upright bass player interested in more information about participating, contact the Make Music Hartford City Administrator at 


Dueling Drums

4pm – 6pm 

Parkville Sounds, corner of Bartholomew Ave and Park Street, Hartford
Parkville Sounds will host Dueling Drums on Bartholomew Avenue in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood. Two drum kits will be set up along the sidewalk. Parkville Sounds owner Steve Cusano will be seated at one kit, fellow drummers are encouraged to stop by and play on the other. Drummers, bring your sticks and take a seat behind the kit. Drummers of all levels are encouraged to participate. Battle, play a duet, or get a mini drum lesson. A full backline will be provided. Drummers are welcome to stay for more dueling drums from 6:30 – 8pm during the jam session.


Jam Session at Willie Ware

5pm – 5:30pm 

Willie Ware Community Center, Windsor Ave, Hartford
Charmagne Tripp hosts a community open mic to close out an afternoon of musical activities at the Willie Ware Rec Center. Community members are welcome to bring their instrument or step up to the mic to sing. Collaborations welcome. All ages, all abilities. Family-friendly event. 


Hip Hop Cypher

5:30pm – 6:30pm

Blue Hills Engine Co. 16 Fire Station, 636 Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford
MCs and beatboxers are invited to freestyle, one after the other, without interruption. This is a place to collaborate, share energy and create on-the-spot rhymes and flows. Ashley Floyd, artist and host of Lyrics in da V will host the cypher at the Blue Hills Engine Co. 16 fire station (the fire station closest to the Bloomfield border). All ages and abilities are welcome to participate. 


Ukulele Circle

5:30pm – 6:30pm 

Butler McCook House Garden, 396 Main Street, Hartford 
Calling all uke players in the Greater Hartford region! Join us in a jam sessions specifically for ukuleles. Howie Therriault will guide the group through songs in an inviting atmosphere open to ukulele players of all ages or levels. Bring your ukulele and join the circle. Free uke songbooks will be provided while supplies last. Everyone is welcome to participate, no matter their skill level.


Parkville Jam Session 

6:30pm – 8pm 

Parkville Sounds, corner of Bartholomew Ave and Park Street, Hartford
All musicians welcome! Bring your instruments & join the jam! We will have a backline set up with keyboard, amps, drums, vocal mics, etc. Drummers who can’t make it to the 4pm – 6pm Dueling Drums session can duel or duet on the two drum kits during the jam session.