A Not-So-Silent Night
After years of spontaneous musical merriment on June 21, the spirit of Make Music Day has come to visit on 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. Last year, 35 cities joined the party.
The sixth nationwide Make Music Winter celebration will take place on December 21, 2023. Whatever your wintertime musical dreams, anything is possible. And all of it is free, joyful, and profoundly participatory.
Make Music Winter is presented by The NAMM Foundation.
To register or propose an event for Make Music Winter…
2022 Make Music Winter Schedule
Use the map below to find a celebration near you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Make Music Winter?
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.
Who organizes it?
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!
How much does it cost?
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.
Are all of the Make Music Winter events parades?
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.
How can I join one of the parades in my city?
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.
How can I book my band for Make Music Winter?
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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
I’m interested in organizing a Make Music Winter event. What should I do?
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 email@example.com 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.
Can I do an indoor event? Can I do a virtual event?
Make Music Winter is intended to be an outdoor, in-person event. Even in winter, neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay musicians from the joyous completion of their appointed rounds.
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).
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.