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Window Serenades

Last June, Make Music Day launched Window Serenades, a socially-distanced program to share the joy of live music with isolated elderly people. Dozens of musicians played outside nursing home windows for those who requested a song – most of whom hadn't seen any visitors for months.

One year later, the pandemic is finally on the wane, but many are still isolated and still need music in their lives. We're pleased to announce that Window Serenades will return in 2021, with events in 17 cities around the country planned so far.

It's not too late to join this direct and meaningful project! Download our Window Serenades Handbook (pdf) for inspiration and tips, then email aaron@makemusicday.org to let us know about your event.

Make Music Partner of the Week: Harman

Window Serenades has an inspired partner this year.

Harman, a crucial supporter of Make Music Day for the last six years, will invite their employees – many of them accomplished musicians – to volunteer at Window Serenades near their offices in Dallas, Detroit, Stamford, and Los Angeles communities. It's all part of Harman's unwavering commitment and belief in the power of music.

We thank Harman for their incredible partnership and support!

Make Music Country of the Week: Italy

Italy's 27th annual Festa della Musica, one of the biggest Make Music Day celebrations outside of France, will take place this year in some truly remarkable locations across 400 Italian cities.

Among many highlights, Italian rock star Edoardo Bennato will perform in the 15th century Castello Sforzesco in Milan, with local student rock bands as the opening acts. At another event in the south, one songwriter from each of Italy's 20 regions will gather in the largest archaeological site in Europe, Selinunte Archaeological Park in Sicily, to perform new songs that recount personal memories from the past pandemic year and the prospect of return to a normal life. That program will begin with gong ringing by percussionist Sergio Calì as part of the international "This Moment In Time".

Visit the Festa della musica website for more details!

And Now For Something Completely Different: Leaf Music

All around us, an exquisite musical instrument hides in plain sight: the leaf.

In the hands of a master player, a humble leaf becomes a reed instrument like no other. Although little-known, leaf playing has a long history in China, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Nepal.

This Make Music Day, we celebrate these traditions with Leaf Music programs, including a livestreamed symposium with expert leaf musicians like Miami's Angel Zoilo. And we invite music fans to find their favorite tree to try the world’s most common uncommon instrument.

Check out our playlist of Leaf Music tracks from around the world!

Track Meet, with Leaves

No matter what instrument you play, you can collaborate with a master leaf artist at Make Music Day's second annual Track Meet!

Over the course of six hours, teams of composers, producers and songwriters from around the world will create brand new original tracks in a creative relay. Using the virtual audio workstation SoundTrap, each musician will get exactly one hour to add their contribution before the next teammate takes over. At the end of the day, we will bounce each team’s track and host them online for everyone to hear.

This year, each team will begin their collaborative relay with a pre-recorded track by an expert leaf player, layering their musical contributions on this unique sound.

Register here by June 10th!

Make Music Partner of the Week: Sweetwater

We'd like to take a moment to thank Sweetwater Sound for its significant 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 25-26 with online seminars, workshops, live performances, artist appearances, exclusive sales, giveaways, and above all, gear.

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 City of the Week: Milwaukee

Wisconsin continues to shine as a Make Music Day Mecca, with thirteen communities coordinating hundreds of musical activities this year.

A lot of it takes place in small towns like Land O’ Lakes and Platteville, but this year the state’s biggest city is coming into its own with Make Music Milwaukee. City institutions including the Beulah Brinton House, Florentine Opera, and UWM Music Library are all putting together special live and virtual programs for the day. And Guitars 4 Vets, a national nonprofit based in Milwaukee, is showcasing local guitarist veterans both indoors and out for Make Music Day.

Many more projects are in the works – look for announcements on the Make Music Milwaukee website!

Flowerpot Music

Our second featured percussion project, written by Elliot Cole and directed by Peter Ferry, is a composition for an unlikely but beautiful instrument – the flowerpot!

On June 21st, groups of musicians and non-musicians alike will assemble in parks, fields and public squares, with safe social distance, to learn and then premiere Flowerpot Music, specially composed for Make Music Day. (Last year’s Flowerpot Music was a virtual affair – the live version is a brand-new piece.)

All percussionists who attend these events will be provided with Balter mallets, thanks to the generosity of our longstanding partner Vic Firth, and invited to make music together. Anyone can join the events and make a great sound on a flowerpot – no experience required!

Interested in leading a performance in your community? Email jonah@makemusicday.org.

This Moment in Time

In just one month, Make Music Day will return – and in many places, with vaccinations on the rise, the celebration will be back to normal. But before life can truly feel normal, after so much devastating loss, we must memorialize the tragedy of the past year.

Our response is an initiative called This Moment In Time, a series of gong performances in public places around the world. Anyone with a large gong is invited to bring it out at noon on June 21, and play for one uninterrupted hour, marking the incalculable loss of the past year, but also the beginning of a new era in sight.

From Downtown Indianapolis (with Corey Denham and the Percussive Arts Society) to the woods of Interlochen (with percussionist Doug Perkins), gongs will ring out nationwide and around the world on Make Music Day, with many events also livestreamed to our website.

If you have a gong, or otherwise want to be involved, sign up here!

Make Music City of the Week: Kansas City

Charlie Parker's hometown of Kansas City, the United State's only UNESCO City of Music, is known worldwide for its role in the development of swing, blues, and jazz.

This year, with leadership from the city's Parks and Recreation department, Make Music Kansas City joins the June 21st party for the first time! Highlights include a Lyric Opera performance in Dunbar Park, Undercover Bands at Knuckleheads, and Musication Station (inspired by Mark Stewart) with a Fish Box Xylophone that up to 8 players can use at the same time, plus other "no experience required" instruments.

Learn more at their website!