Make Music Day

April 5, 2023

Countdown to MMD 2023: Scale challenge Week 2

I hope everyone really took the time to play the G major scale every day for the past week, and if so, you should by now have a whole different level of familiarity and comfort with this scale. Moving on, this week we will continue to play the G major scale at least once per day, correctly (if you make a mistake, stop and try again, playing slower if necessary). And, we are adding a new scale, which is F major.

Keep your focus on what you are playing while you are playing it; don’t rush through a scale while thinking about what you will do next, rather concentrate on really getting it right, on clean transitions from each note to the next, and on playing with a good tone all the way through, ascending and descending. Think each note before you play it, this way you will avoid missteps. This is really good, diligent work we are doing; know that if you stick with this challenge, you will have made a major step forward with your technique and with your practice chops by the time Make Music Day comes around!

See you next week for the next key! And remember to tag us if you’re joining in this challenge, #makemusicpractice

April 4, 2023

NAMM’s Million More Music Makers

We are proud to partner with NAMM on its Million More Music Makers teacher training initiative next week at the NAMM Show in Anaheim CA!

If you teach guitar, ukulele, or bass – or want to start – there are over 50 hands-on workshops, sessions, and events to help you become an inspiring and effective teacher, along with the hundreds of concerts, exhibitions, and special events the NAMM Show is famous for.

If you are going to this year’s NAMM show, stop by the Make Music Day booth (#6417) and say hello!

April 4, 2023

Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast

Showing just how participatory Make Music Day can be, we are excited to feature Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast by composer and percussionist Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood), as a new national project for 2023.

Stridulations is a set of interlocking rhythmic pieces that anyone can join, whether or not they read music. Following an ingenious system of Xs and dots, participants play rhythmic cycles on any instrument or voice, locking together like a Samba band, or stretching out to sound like crickets calling to each other across a field.

Do you have a good sense of rhythm, and want to bring Stridulations to your town? Email to sign up and receive instructions, an excerpt of the score, and the link to a Zoom with Billy in late May to learn the piece and how to lead it.

April 4, 2023

Make Music in 120+ U.S. Communities

A record number of communities across the U.S. are gearing up for a summer celebration of music on June 21!

This year, Albany, Ann Arbor, Fresno, Indianapolis, Raleigh, and Tulsa are celebrating their inaugural Make Music Days, while Boston, Detroit, Huntsville, and San Diego return for the first time since the pandemic. Over 120 cities are active around the country, joining over 1,000 international Make Music cities.

Find a celebration near you!

March 30, 2023

Countdown to MMD: Practice challenge, scales in all 12 keys!

I hope everyone is getting excited for Make Music Day 2023, because it is just 12 weeks away! As we are making our plans and preparing musically, we thought this would be a great opportunity for a practice challenge, which will be to practice, or learn, one major scale per week, working our way through all 12 keys by the time we get to Make Music Day. Playing scales in all 12 keys is a pretty major achievement, and will really help with building confidence as well as technique, whether you are doing this for the first time or someone who is trying to re-establish an effective practice regimen after a break.

Today, let’s start with G major; I have decided to work through the keys in an order that does not follow the cycle of fourths, and without starting on C major, because I think we have all probably done enough of both those things. If you are already familiar with this scale or if it is brand new to you, I want you to try playing it very slowly, possibly much slower than your technique is capable of. This is because I want you to play each note after you think it; in other words, you are thinking the note before you play it. Do not be tempted to play faster, just because you can; this very slow, very conscious action is really valuable. The result should be a slow but perfect scale; no fumbled notes, or missed notes. There should be no missteps, because you are being so deliberate and careful about each action.

Play the scale like this, at least once, ascending and descending. If you have more time, try playing it 5 times perfectly. Do this every day this week, and listen closely to how you sound; observe your progress through the week, and take notes on it. This will be quite a journey, so it’s a great time to start your practice notebook—at the end, you will have your very own scale study chapter.

See you next week for the next key! And remember to tag us if you’re joining in this challenge, #makemusicpractice

February 20, 2023

Practice Room: Setting Yourself Up For Success

When starting (or re-starting) a practice regimen, dedicating a little time to establishing a space for your work is really helpful. If you are fortunate enough to have a practice room, that is very lucky, and you can really have fun making a personal, creative and inspiring space for yourself to work in, but many of us have to try to fit our music work in and around our other living and working spaces, and it can be difficult to do this in a way that supports focus and minimizes distractions. 

Finding a way to visually set aside space is very important, and can encourage more practice to happen, especially if the space is comfortable, inviting, and inspiring. You can create a visual practice space a very small area, using simple tools that are available to anyone, like sheets of paper and sticky notes, or a cork board. 

Locate a spot where you will be able to work on your instrument; this might be in a corner of a room, for example. If you don’t have a place that is always available, but rather you have to pack up everything between sessions, then you can use a large piece of cardboard that can sit on your music stand, and add notes and prompts to that. This can be put away as necessary, but while you’re practicing it will fill your field of vision and help to keep your focus. 

In this designated area, post notes to yourself with your current objectives for practice, and reminders to yourself of things you are working on. This might be learning a new technique, or a new scale, or reminding you to go back to something you haven’t worked on for some time; it can also be more about encouragement—remember to stay positive and be kind to yourself when you are working on your instrument. Music should be an enjoyable thing, but it is easy to become self critical when one is struggling with a challenging piece of music or technical skill. Most importantly, when someone says something nice and encouraging to you about your playing, write that down, and post it prominently!

As well as writing notes which are very practical things, it is fun and valuable to be as creative as you want to be with your space; think about adding artistic visual prompts to the space as well. Album cover art and concert posters are a very important part of musical identity, so why not find some that you love, that remind you of how you would like to sound, and put these up in your practice space as well. Have fun with it, and if you feel like sharing your space with us we would love to see a photo! You can post it on Instagram with the hashtag #MakeMusicPractice 

February 20, 2023

Make Music Day Practice Room

Welcome to the Make Music Day Practice Room!

This is a space where we will discuss various ways to approach music practice, to help you to get the most out of the time you spend with your instrument—and of course to prepare for greatness in Make Music Day performances.

The topics here will be general practice pointers for any instrument, but we encourage you to write to us and submit any questions or concerns that you have about your own practice; this is a space to share information, and help each other to make progress and get even more enjoyment from our music making. Submit your questions or concerns in the comments section, and we will do our best to answer.

Thanks for reading, and happy practicing!


December 13, 2022

Winter is here! Make Music next week

Make Music Winter is just around the corner, with 29 cities joining to create a musical winter solstice on Wednesday, December 21!

Check out the nationwide Resonant Paths and Bell By Bells, cigar box instrument making in Clatsop County OR, daylong music at Union Station in Denver CO, an Appalachian and Zydeco jam in Montclair NJ, music at the "Magic Tree" in Columbia MO, eighteen play-along parades (and more) in New York NY, and so many other live, participatory events to ring in the season.

Just visit, and then join a music-making event near you!

November 21, 2022

Bell By Bell for Make Music Winter

Make Music Winter is just one month away, coming to a city near you on December 21!

Among many other events, our signature Bell by Bell program will return nationwide in 2022, featuring the world premieres of new compositions by Brian Chase (from the Grammy-nominated Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Glenn Kotche (from Wilco).

In eight cities on the winter solstice, an event leader will distribute dozens of color-coded diatonic bells to the crowd, one color per note. At the front of the group, a team of conductors will wave corresponding colored flags to lead the group in slowly moving music by the composers, creating a sonorous, atmospheric soundscape. Anyone and everyone can join this magical winter experience.

Find your nearest Make Music Winter event here. (And if you're planning your own free, participatory event on December 21, let us know.)

November 1, 2022

A Sneak Peek at Make Music Winter

Make Music Winter is just seven weeks away!

Among the dozens of projects in the works for Wednesday, December 21st, we are especially excited to present The Resonant Path in six cities this year. This initiative will ring in the winter solstice with a series of gongs spaced out along a walking path, played continuously by percussionists over the course of an hour and creating waves of sound as the audience walks past.

We will make a nationwide Make Music Winter announcement on November 8th, and it's not too late to add your own participatory event to the program! Just fill out this form if you are interested and we will get in touch right away.