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Make Music Day

June 12, 2024

Pulsations: the Worldwide Musical Relay of the Games

In a partnership between the Paris 2024 Cultural Olympiad, the Arab World Institute, and the Make Music Alliance, artists around the world will unite their music, and their hearts, through a musical relay on June 21 for Make Music Day.

Starting in New Zealand and traveling throughout Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe, this 100% live online broadcast, entitled Pulsations (French for “heartbeats”), will feature musicians in 24 countries performing free public concerts, including

Taking turns on the 4-hour broadcast, each band will perform a 10-minute set, ending their last song with a “heartbeat” rhythm composed by renowned French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. At that moment, like the passing of the Olympic torch, the band in the next country will join the livestream, match the heartbeat rhythm, and seamlessly begin their own set.

Finally, the livestream arrives at the Arab World Institute in Paris, where Ibrahim Maalouf performs a closing, hour-long show.

Friday, June 21, 2024
3:00PM – 7:00PM (Paris time)
Streaming at makemusicday.org

Check out the full program!

June 12, 2024

Make Music Partner of the Week: HARMAN

Harman has been a crucial supporter of Make Music Day for the last nine years, part of their unwavering commitment to music and music education.

In 2024, Harman is sponsoring Pulsations, Make Music Day’s initiative with the 2024 Paris Cultural Olympiad and the Arab World Institute. Harman’s AKG microphones will be provided to artists around the world to use in the livestream, giving them the best possible sound for this worldwide broadcast.

Many thanks to Harman!

June 12, 2024

Make Music State of the Week: North Carolina

For the first time this year, Make Music Day will be celebrated across North Carolina!

With support from the North Carolina Arts Council, thirteen cities and counties are joining forces to present a dizzying number of Make Music North Carolina events. Travel throughout the state on June 21 to find four all-day Kazoo-Fests at libraries in Brunswick County, ukulele jams in Raleigh, “The Hot Flashes” in Wilmington, the FCS String Band’s open mic in McDowell County, instrument petting zoos in Stanly County, and hundreds of other music-making opportunities, large and small.

More information on Make Music North Carolina

June 6, 2024

Strength in Numbers: Sousapalooza

Since 2011, Make Music Chicago has pioneered the “Sousapalooza” – an invitation for hundreds of brass, wind, and percussion players to come together on June 21 for Make Music Day and sightread the music of The March King, John Philip Sousa.

Sousapalooza returns this year to 11 cities across the U.S., from Alabama to Alaska. Find one near you, download the music, and join the band!

June 6, 2024

Your Make Music Day Checklist

June is busting out all over. Music will soon be in the air.

It’s time to finalize your Make Music Day plans!

🔲 Register with your local Make Music chapter and confirm your plans

🔲 Or mark your calendar to join a participatory Mass Appeal, Sousapalooza, Flowerpot Music, Roomful of Pianos, or String Together event near you

🔲 Promote your event with our poster generator and social media tiles

🔲 Go out on June 21 and make the city your stage!

May 31, 2024

Champions: Emily Coupe, Songwriter, and Musical Storyteller

In this interview, we talk with Emily Coupe, a multitalented musician currently based in the bustling city of Los Angeles, known for her captivating melodies and her unique blend of pop and folk. Emily’s music reflects not only her skillful songwriting but also her deep passion for connecting with people through her songs. Join us as we delve into Emily’s musical journey, from her discovery of Make Music Day to her unwavering dedication to crafting meaningful music within the pop and folk genres.

How did you find out about Make Music Day? And how was the experience for you?

I believe someone contacted me on Instagram and asked me to perform at Topanga for a Make Music Day event. The experience was great, and a lot of fun. I definitely received a good response from the people who attended the event. It was a really enjoyable gig.

How did you start making music?

Well, I began making music when I was back in Australia. I started songwriting a lot, and then I worked on my first album. However, I’ve taken it off Spotify because I’m not sure if I’m entirely happy with how it turned out; I kind of didn’t know what I wanted my music to be when recording it. I’ve definitely been aiming for a more pop sound. But there are a couple of tracks from that album that I really like; those are “Missing You,” “Touch The Sun,” and “Revolution.”

Did you get into music as a child? Did you play musical instruments at an early age?

Yes, I began playing the violin when I was five years old. Initially, my focus was primarily on the violin until around the age of twelve. After that, I gradually picked up the guitar, and by the time I was fourteen, I was more invested in guitar, while also exploring keyboards, which I started around the age of seven or eight.

What artists inspired you to start in the music industry?

I think back when I was that age, my parents would show me music from old-school artists like John Denver and The Beatles, which they really liked.

And nowadays, are there artists that inspire your music?

Definitely. Taylor Swift, Alanis Morissette, Maren Morris, Ariana Grande. A band I’m really enjoying is Trousdale. Just all the pop people. Also country artists like Sheryl Crow.

I know your music is mostly pop. Are there other genres you’d like to explore in the future?

Yes! I would love to explore more. I guess my stuff bounces between pop-folk, which is really cool. Later this year, I’m planning on putting out a folk-type EP, which I’ve been working on. I’ve been a little scattered with my music because I got nodules, and because of that, I haven’t been able to sing as much these past few months. It’s been frustrating. Because of this, I’ve decided to hold off on putting out new music just because I really want to do a gig around the release of the EP.

When you’re not doing music, what do you do? I believe you also do acting, is that right?

Yes! I also act. I started acting back when I was in high school; I did an improv class, and from there, I got into acting classes from twelve or thirteen onwards. I was really lucky that my parents supported my passions, always. My passion for acting grew from an early age, and it’s grown over the years. Acting can be frustrating; most of it is auditions and rejections, but I’ve grown a thick skin towards rejection, so that’s a good thing. I’ve found that as I become more myself, I either really resonate with people and they really like me, or I’m creating more enemies. But as a musician, you can’t be a people-pleaser. It’s better to be strong and stand out for what you believe.

How would you describe what music means to you?

I’d say music means escapism, and also relatability. For example, with Ariana Grande’s latest single “We Can’t Be Friends,” the song and the video really resonated with me while going through a breakup, and I absolutely loved the whole concept of the song. I think music makes you feel deeper what you’re already feeling; it’s really cathartic. It connects you to others, making you feel part of something bigger.

What would you say your goal in music is?

I’d say my main goal right now is to heal my nodules. Beyond that, when my voice returns to its normal state, I aim to connect with as many people as possible through my music and the messages embedded in my songs. I want my music to resonate deeply with listeners and make them feel understood, especially during challenging moments in their lives. Ultimately, I see songwriting as my most powerful tool for connecting with others. I aim to become the best storyteller I can be through my music.

May 31, 2024

Champions: Bear In The Forest, Inspirational Indie Folk Musician

In this interview, we talk with Bear In The Forest, a talented musician from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, known for his captivating indie folk melodies. Join us as we explore his musical journey, centered around his deep connection with music and its power to heal and inspire. Bear In The Forest shares insights into his background, experiences, and creative process, offering a glimpse into his world as a passionate artist. Notably, Bear In The Forest released his debut album some time ago, featuring original tracks like “Flow With Me,” often chosen as the opening number for his performances.

How did you find out about Make Music Day?

I believe someone who was organizing the events for Make Music Madison reached out to me and told me all about the events that were happening. I liked the idea, so I signed up, created my profile, and then a handful of venues contacted me to play in some events.

How was the experience?

I’ve participated for two years. It’s been awesome. I kind of tour the city and play at three or four different spots around it during the day. It was really fun to get to play in various venues in one day, and I just love playing music, so it was always a good time.

How did you start playing music?

I feel like I’d always been inclined towards music. I was a dancing baby. And then, when I was young, even before I started playing instruments, I loved listening to artists like The Beatles and pretending to be them, emulating their performances. I dreamt of becoming a rock star. My parents made me start playing the violin when I was in third grade, which I didn’t love right away. Once I got to middle school, I started playing guitar, as I fell in love with folk and indie music and the sound of acoustic guitar. From the moment I started with the guitar, I remember I just wanted to write my own songs and become a songwriter. I kind of wanted to bring the same level of inspiration that I had gotten from folk music to other people. At school, I debuted as a performer and played at various talent shows, and that’s also where I came out with the artist name “Bear In The Forest”.

What artists inspired you to start making music?

In my early years, I was obsessed with bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, sparking my desire to become a rock star. However, what got me into songwriting and playing guitar was some of the new-aged folk artists of the 2010s, such as Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, and Ben Howard, incredible acoustic guitar players. A lot of these British folk artists who took Americana music and made it their own caught my attention when I was in middle school. I heard “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons, and I thought it was just really incredible what Marcus Mumford does with the acoustic guitar; I didn’t know you could do that with it. I’d never heard the guitar used in such a percussive way, taking so much space. That’s how a lot of indie folk artists use the guitar; they use it as if the guitar was almost the entire band. The Tallest Man on Earth is another one of my big inspirations, and a lot of his work is just him and the guitar, but he creates full sounds with it. That’s what I’m built on now and what I base my music on.

In your presentations, do you usually play your original music, or also throw in some covers?

Mostly original music; I’ve always been that way. However, I’ve started incorporating more covers, especially when I need to build a long setlist for a performance. Covers are also great to draw people’s attention, and it’s cool to get people to hear your take on covers. Lately, I’ve been enjoying covering artists such as Hozier, The Beatles, Neil Young, Bon Iver, among others. While I strategically use covers, my focus remains on showcasing my original compositions because that’s where my passion lies. Also, I feel like I play better when it comes to my songs, considering that when playing I focus more on the sounds I create than some technicalities of music. 

Are you currently doing music full-time?

I’m not a full-time musician, but I’m working towards that. That’s the ultimate goal. Currently, I work part-time, and I have enough time in my day to focus on my music.

How would you describe what music means to you?

Music is very spiritual to me. It’s my way of tapping into something greater. It’s my way of communicating my joy, my pain, and my feelings. I definitely have a pretty rough background because of some life struggles I’ve faced, and music has always been a way to process those things and truly heal from them.

May 31, 2024

Champions: Gabi The Artist, Spreading Joy through Gospel Music

In this interview, we talk with Gabi The Artist, a Montclair local with Afro-Latina roots from Puerto Rico. She began her musical journey at nine, playing heartfelt tunes on her guitar. Hoping to make music full-time, Gabi aims to unite people with her melodies, spreading joy for a better world. With a strong mindset, she conveys her message through the powerful medium of gospel music.

How did you find out about Make Music Day?

I’m a community girl. I’ve been playing locally in Montclair for a while. I remember one day in 2018, a friend of mine, Greg Pason, heavily involved in Make Music Day Montclair, saw me performing at a festival and really liked what he heard. He invited me to start performing for Make Music Day, and that’s how I learned about it.

How has your experience at Make Music Day been so far?

It’s been awesome. I just love how it brings the community together. Whenever I perform, I love to create a safe space and unity. We get to listen to music together, and it’s a beautiful exchange that I get to share at Make Music Day.

How did you start making music?

I was a very little girl when I started writing music. I was about nine years old when I wrote my first song. My mom was a singer in church, and my dad was a music appreciator; he was quite the performer. It’s like their love for music blended into mine. I come from an Afro-Latina background, so I was very open to many different kinds of music. I’ve always loved music growing up. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. I picked up the guitar at fifteen, was self-taught, and just didn’t put it down after that.

What genres do you enjoy playing? I believe you’re more into gospel music, is that correct?

That’s correct. My father passed in 2018, and I was shut down creatively and in general. Originally, I was really heavy into pop and alternative pop; I still do it, but the way the Lord brought me back through music is just… music is so beautiful and powerful, and there is a beautiful connection that you can get through it. I had pushed everything away, but through 2019 and 2020, God was bringing me back in, and since then, I’ve literally been pouring out songs of prayers. All I can do is thank God that I’m still here.

In your concerts, do you mostly do originals? Do you also like to perform covers?

I do mostly originals, but I also like to fuse it with covers. I like to free flow, and I’m all about crowd engagement and bringing the crowd in like we’re performing together. We’re together; our energy is together, and our energy is one. It’s a beautiful reminder in that space that, even if we’re different on the outside, we’re still so similar on the inside. It’s important to remember that.

Are you doing music full-time at the moment?

My goal is to make it full-time definitely. Now, I also work with children. I’m a paraprofessional, and I help students with special needs. It’s been a blessing to work with the children; I’ve learned so much, and they inspire me every single day. I’ve grown so much as a person just by working with them, and also as an artist. Kids remind you to really let go and be yourself, and that’s what I always try to bring to the stage.

How would you describe what music means to you?

Music is my best friend. Music has been there when I haven’t been there for myself. I’ve been able to remember that I’m not alone when I can listen to a song and relate to someone else going through my struggles. Sometimes, as a human being, you get caught up feeling like “I’m the only one going through this,” but the reality is that we’re all going through it in different ways. Music reminds you you’re not alone; that’s why I love it.

What would you say your goal in music is?
My goal in music is to really bring everybody together. It may seem crazy to some people, but I do think it’s possible. I think peace on this Earth is possible through love, music, unity, kindness, people bringing who they are to the table, and leading with peace. I really think we could come together and make this world a better place.

May 30, 2024

Champions: Sandra Kluge, Exploring the Beat of Tap Percussion

In this interview, we talk with Sandra Kluge, a talented tap percussionist and composer from Brooklyn, New York. Sandra shares her experiences participating in Make Music Day events since 2019, her unique journey mastering tap music production through experimentation, and her deep connection to music as a means of self-expression and connection with others. She’s been on a long journey, and currently, she has two singles released, called Misty Rose and Clementine, which showcase her musical skill.

How has your experience been at the Make Music Day events?

I participated in Make Music Day events in 2022 and I believe in 2019 as well. It was great. It’s a really awesome way to play in spaces that don’t usually host live performances and live music. I got to play at a coworking space, at a community garden, and at a crepe place. It’s really awesome for businesses to open their doors to host live music.

How did you start making music?

I come from a family of musicians. I’ve been making music in some way, probably my entire life. My first instrument was the clarinet, and when I was ten, I started learning tap from my mom. I felt inspired to check it out and ended up being really connected to the art form. I’ve always felt connected to the music aspect of it, so slowly over time, I really just honed in on treating tap as a musical instrument. This led me to write my own music, perform it live, and handle recording and production. I kind of organically got into it. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

You have two great singles streaming on Spotify. How was your experience doing those?

Really great. Recording my own music in which tap is the only percussive instrument is the most fulfilling creative thing that I’ve ever done in my life so far. With recorded music, I’m inspired by its accessibility. Because if you want to see a regular tap performance, you either have to go on YouTube and search for a video, or make time to go to a live performance. Recorded music can be easily streamed or purchased, so it’s so much more accessible for people’s day-to-day lives. Just as everyone has a personal soundtrack that resonates with their moods and experiences, I aspire to contribute to people’s lives in a similar way. I believe the soundtracks of my own life have been influential and helpful in navigating various situations. Being able to provide that for others is incredibly gratifying.

How was the experience of actually recording the tap? I imagine it’s different from the recording of ordinary percussion instruments.

It’s actually really interesting. I’ve been learning a lot during this whole process. There is no default way to produce, record, and mix tap, so it’s about learning by doing. It involves a lot of experimentation. When you record a drum set, you can mic each drum separately and hone in on the different frequency strums. But with tap, it’s like you basically have all the frequencies on one drum. That’s the main challenge, I’d say. How do I bring out all the little nuances that I want to hear? Sometimes, it’s frustrating because I want things to sound a certain way, and I find myself running up against some challenges. But the journey is great. I’m learning a lot. Just the act of recording and really listening back to what I do has been so helpful.

Do you think you get to actually capture what you want to hear in your taps in the recording?

Yes, I think so. There’s always room for improvement. As I grow and refine my setup and my gear to record it, it’s coming closer to what I hear. It’s already definitely on track for me.

What artists inspire you in your music creation?

Lots of different ones. I grew up within the jazz framework, all the greats. There are great jazz piano players; I love Oscar Peterson. All these masters of the craft, jazz vocalists. That’s kind of the foundation of what inspired me and influenced me; it’s the sensibility of all these artists. These days, on top of that, I’m very inspired by any artist who bridges the gap between making music that is both meditative and really hones in on very clear patterns and develops them over a long time, while still being groovy and having that balance. So, some of the specific artists that I’m influenced by right now are Sam Gandel from LA, and Sam Wilkes from LA because they’re doing exactly that, among a bunch of others.

What genres do you enjoy playing? Is it only jazz music?

What I play is kind of hard to put into a genre. When trying to explain my music to people, I’d put it into words as jazz-based, alternative R&B, or something like that. I’d ultimately say alternative jazz.

Do you mainly play your original songs in your presentations?

Yes, I pretty much exclusively play my originals. I have such a specific vision for how the tap fits into the music; it makes more sense to play my own music for that.

Are you a full-time musician?

Yes. Well, my day job is teaching tap. Other than that, I’ll be performing, working on projects, creating, and making music.

How would you describe what music means to you?

Music to me means a space that allows me to feel whatever I’m feeling in the moment, and to connect with that feeling in a way that makes me feel connected to something bigger. Whether I’m listening to music or if I’m playing music, I know I’m not the only person feeling this way. Music is the perfect level of abstraction where we don’t have to explain what it does to us; we feel it. Even if I play just one chord, this one chord might evoke a really specific feeling. For me, that’s the power of music.

Finally, what would you say your goal in music is?

My goal in music is to forge ahead on the path of tap percussion, continuing to record music, and release more songs, and full albums. I’d love to collaborate with specific individuals to further develop tap percussion as an instrument. I want to just share and connect, and feel increasingly clear about my artistic voice and how I can connect with people in that way, whether through collaborative performances or engaging with audience members.

May 28, 2024

Champions: Kapono Wong, Hawai’i’s Ukulele Sensation

In this interview, we talk with Kapono Wong, a talented musician renowned for his exceptional ukulele skills and profound love for music. From an early age, inspired by the legendary Jake Shimabukuro, to his participation in Make Music Day events, Kapono shares his musical journey, inspirations, and dreams. Join us as we explore Kapono’s world of music and discover the joy he brings through his ukulele melodies.

When was the first time you played in a Make Music Day event?

I think the first time I attended a Make Music Day event was three years ago. I believe a friend of mine posted something about Make Music Hawai’i and how to sign up. So, I took the chance and got the opportunity to play at Windward Mall.

How was your experience that first time at Make Music Day?

I can’t recall the songs I played, but I do remember playing the ukulele at the back of my head for the very first time. I just went for it, I had a lot of fun. It was a great experience, I’d say.

How did you start making music?

I started playing the ukulele at the age of five. My parents actually made their kids take ukulele classes after our elementary school lessons. At that age, I wasn’t really into the ukulele. But, when I got into middle school, the ukulele was offered as an elective course. I took it, and that’s when I started to really enjoy playing it and get into it. That’s also when I first discovered Jake Shimabukuro and got inspired to play his most challenging songs.

When did you start taking it more seriously?

Definitely around high school junior-senior time, that’s when I started to play more and play in front of people. Before, I used to have terrible stage fright and couldn’t even play for my family’s birthday parties. Starting to feel more at ease and following Jake’s advice really helped me come out of my shell and perform more often.

What artists inspired you to start making music?

Definitely, Jake Shimabukuro was the first one. There is also Taimane Gardner and Brittni Paiva, two amazing ukulele artists. The majority of ukulele musicians really helped me get to where I am today. As of right now, I’m currently attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, and definitely, my professors and the super-talented musicians there really help me expand more. I’m honored to be part of them and have this opportunity.

What genres do you mainly enjoy playing?

I enjoy playing all kinds of genres, but if I were to pick, I’d say between pop and rock. I enjoy listening to Bruno Mars, Billie Eilish, Carlos Santana, The Beatles, and Queen. I just love listening to all their music, arranging their songs, and then putting them in my own style to make them kind of my own.

In your live shows, do you play more covers or original music?

It’s mainly covers. I’m still working on creating and putting out my originals; it’s something I’m trying to put more focus on to get my music out there.

How has your time in Boston been, besides college? Have you been performing frequently?

I’ve been exploring Boston and getting to know the areas and my surroundings. Since it’s a bit challenging to land gigs here, I’ve taken to busking. At first, it was really nerve-wracking for me, since it’s a new city, a whole new environment. But I’m starting to get more comfortable with it.

How would you describe what music means to you?

Music is the universal language. You may not be able to speak other people’s languages, but you can connect to people through music. That’s the universal language of humans.

What would you say your goal in music is?

My goal is to inspire other people to have fun with music, whether it’s on the ukulele or any other instrument, just have fun with it. Music is my getaway. When I feel stressed or down, playing the ukulele and making music instantly changes my mindset and lifts my mood.