Latest News

The Return of Sousapalooza

Since 2011, Make Music Chicago has pioneered 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.

After a couple of years off during the pandemic, Sousapaloozas will return in 2022 in cities around the U.S. from Portland ME to Wichita KS.

Want to bring Sousapalooza to your town? All you need is a bandleader, a location, and a way to spread the word to local brass and woodwind players.

Then just sign up here!

Introducing the Make Music Network


Make Music Day could never happen without hundreds of partners playing a part in each community.

To highlight some of our national non-profit colleagues, we've started the Make Music Network, a community of organizations who partner with the Make Music Alliance on June 21, and do meaningful work year-round to create a society of music-makers.

Check out our interviews with Maker Music Festival co-founder Sherry Huss, and Guitar 4 Vets co-founder Patrick Nettesheim.

(More interviews coming next month!)

Make Music Partner of the Week: D’Addario

D'Addario joins Make Music Day again this year as one of our Mass Appeal partners, providing free drumsticks for over 20 bucket drumming events in plazas and parks around the country!

All percussionists who attend – kids and adults, professionals and amateurs – will be handed a pair of D'Addario's ProMark drumsticks and invited to make music together. 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.

Thank you D'Addario!

Make Music Region of the Week: Southeastern Connecticut

Since Make Music Connecticut began four years ago, the state's southeast has stood out for its incredible Make Music Days. (Check out this video from Make Music New London in 2018!)

This year will feature 100+ performances across the region on June 21, including main stages in downtown New London at the Whale Tail, Hygienic Art, and the Garde Arts Center; a jam-packed schedule in Old Lyme with a Music Stroll along Lyme Street; and the Afro-Semitic Experience at the Henry Witfield State Museum in Guilford.

More at the Make Music Southeastern Connecticut website!

#MySongIsYourSong!

Songwriters and composers of all kinds are invited to join Make Music Day's 3rd annual global song swap, called #MySongIsYourSong.

Sign up to learn and perform a song by another artist, from another part of the world, and hear one of your original songs covered by them in return! Nearly 200 artists took part in 2021, with more expected in 2022. In order to guarantee a match, you must register by May 23rd at makemusicday.org/songswap. Partners will be carefully selected and introduced the first week of June, then will share their video performances on June 21.

(Don't write your own music? Don't feel left out! Join Make Music Day UK's Global Folk Challenge: share a folk song from your country, and in exchange, learn and perform a different folk song submitted by another participating musician – sign up by May 23rd!)

The NAMM Show + The American Song

Over the last two years, Make Music Day's The American Song has captured the stories and experiences of ordinary people from around the country. On June 21, 50 professional songwriters video-chatted with an interviewee in the morning, wrote a song inspired by the conversation in the afternoon, and then performed it online that evening.

In June 2022, for the first time, The American Song will become a live, in-person event at The NAMM Show in Anaheim California! Songwriters will interview randomly selected attendees to learn about their lives, then come up on stage 24 hours later to play a brand new song inspired by their conversations. All songs will be filmed and released for Make Music Day on June 21, 2022.

Register to attend this year's NAMM Show on June 3-5!

Make Music Partner of the Week: Panyard

Steelpans are the only family of chromatic, acoustic instruments developed in the last century. Invented in Trinidad around the Second World War, they are traditionally handmade from oil drums, and hand-tuned by a small number of master pan tuners.

Although historically hard to come by, steelpans will be found in 19 cities around the US in participatory events and “petting zoos” for Make Music Day 2022, thanks to Panyard’s Jumbie Jams, an entry level steel pan designed to be easily playable by anyone.

Many thanks to Panyard!

Make Music City of the Week: San Francisco

Few people know that San Francisco had one of the very first Fêtes de la Musique in the United States, a June 21st event along Market Street called "Making Waves" that ran from 1992-1997.

It's taken almost 25 years, but the city is finally back with Make Music San Francisco! Building off of the popular "Just Add Music" program of outdoor concerts during the pandemic, the city's businesses, government, and cultural groups are uniting to bring the streets back alive with music on June 21, 2022.

More details will be posted soon on the Make Music San Francisco website.

Guitars 4 Vets: How Private Guitar Lessons Started a Global Movement

Interview with Guitars 4 Vets co-founder Patrick Nettesheim, conducted by the Make Music Alliance in May 2022.

How did Guitars 4 Vets begin? 

This was not part of the master plan, I wanted to be a rockstar! I played music since childhood, starting on trumpet (but I was allergic to valve oil) and later moving on to guitar and piano. I have played in bands all my life, and started teaching music at age 16, and I’ve been teaching ever since. In fall 2006 I met Dan Van Buskirk, a combat veteran who always wanted to play guitar, but felt that his disability (PTSD) prevented him from connecting to music. 

How did Dan find you? 

I was teaching at a music store in Brookfield WI (Cream City Music) and playing in bands. Dan came to me for lessons, and we started working with my P.A.G.E. approach (Patience, Acceptance, Gratitude and Empathy), and quickly forged a strong student/teacher bond. My belief is that music when it works is a spiritual experience, and the guitar is the catalyst for positive human interaction. Music is the telekinesis of emotion; you take your thoughts and feelings, and now you can feel your feelings.

How did Guitars 4 Vets begin?

Because his guitar lessons helped him so much with his PTSD, it was Dan’s idea to go to the VA in Milwaukee, as he felt compelled to share the benefit. I was too busy, but Dan persuaded me! We went with the intention of playing for the people in spinal rehab at the VA. The store where I was teaching was owned by Joe Gallenberger, whose dad had recently died of complications from PTSD (he was a veteran of the Korean War). When Joe heard that we were going to play music at the VA, he handed me 2 guitars and said “Take these in honor of my dad, and use them to help these people”. We handed the guitars to the veterans, and started teaching! When we finished, the nurses said “you’re coming back next week”, and more and more people joined. Soon after this, we decided to form a nonprofit. I came up with the name, googled it, and nothing came up, so we went ahead and registered it and had nonprofit status within a year. Now this is a global movement

What is your primary mission with Guitars 4 Vets?

What we are doing is making the therapeutic nature of music making available for free. We provide guitars and lessons for Military Veterans, at no cost to them. Upon graduation, each Veteran is awarded a guitar, gig bag, picks, strap, tuner, stand, method book, capo and a certificate of completion. Since 2007, Guitars for Vets has provided nearly 6,000 new guitars and 60,000 lessons to our Nation’s Veterans. More than 110 chapters have been established in over 40 states, and 500 volunteers assure the mission is successful.

What is the Guitars 4 Vets approach to teaching?

The way we teach is guided by the students, we ask the student what they want to learn. Show them the  concept, and then demonstrate a practical application that the student is interested in. We then encourage them to do something on their own with it. We light the way while they are searching for their path.

I see you are hosting a big event on Make Music Day, June 21st 2022; would you like to say something about that?

The 21 Guitar Salute honors the men and women that have served in the military and are now living with the challenges of Post Traumatic Stress [PTSD]. Donations collected from this event will support our brothers and sisters on their journey toward recovery by providing them with free guitars, lessons, teamwork and camaraderie.

Maker Music Festival: Celebrating a Global Community of Innovative Music Makers

Interview with Maker Music Festival co-founder Sherry Huss, conducted by the Make Music Alliance in May 2022.

How did the Maker Music Festival get started?

Maker Music Festival evolved out of Maker Faire. I was the co-founder of Maker Faire which launched in 2006, and I helped to build that from one event in the first year, to 244 events in 45 countries around the world by 2018, with the help of a grant from the Kaufman Foundation and partnerships with The Henry Ford in Detroit and the New York Hall of Science in New York City. We were invited to do a White House Maker Faire in 2014 under the Obama administration, which was a huge help, nationally and internationally. 

My husband is a developer and programmer and a musician, and the president of our local Maker Space in Sonoma County. In 2018 they wanted to do a fundraiser, and were thinking of having a Maker Faire, so I suggested that they choose one component to focus on and they chose music, which is when the idea of Maker Music Festival was launched. They did a one day festival and it was just beautiful, with digital and analog components, about 10 or 12 exhibits, and hands on activities for kids. It turned out great, and we wanted to do it again in 2019 but I got too busy, so we planned to do it in 2020—and 2020 became 2020!

In early 2020 my husband and I started work on another passion project, Decameron Row, which gave us the idea to do a music festival online, with a row of buildings that house different musical projects. 

Last year, working with eight curators, we launched the Maker Music Festival with 19 buildings, 200 makers and over 300 projects; we presented 20 hours of live programming over two days, ten hours per day. Those have all been posted to our YouTube channel, and it actually turned out to be really great. 

What will be different about this year’s Maker Music festival?

There is actually going to be a way to search the campus by person or by project, so it will be easier to navigate and will also provide the Makers with a link to their work, which is helpful because a lot of them don’t have a web presence; this year we will probably have about 100 new Makers and many more buildings. This year, groups such as DorkBot (San Francisco Bay Area), MakeMe (France) and UMass Lowell (Waltham, MA) will occupy entire buildings. We will probably have about 6 to 8 hours of live programming. 

What is the goal of this project?

The goal is to give the community a venue to show and share what they are doing. Moving forward, our work is probably going to have more of an educational focus. We are working with AnnMarie Thomas, a Maker and the winner of the 2020 Lego Prize who works at the University of St Thomas in Minneapolis, to figure out how to use the Maker Music Festival and Campus as a tool for teachers and education, creating materials to support music education, especially in elementary and middle school, as this type of education is lacking in this country compared to internationally. 

Do you have plans to return to a live format in the future?

There is nothing that beats live music, for sure, and we will see how it goes. Ultimately our goal would be to have live Maker Music Festivals, and there is no reason why they can’t happen around the world. I think the good thing is that we have created a global network of music makers from around the world that can acknowledge each other’s work and be together and engage online and hopefully in person at some point.