nationwide initiatives

Every summer, the national Make Music Alliance creates projects that bring together Make Music Day cities from across the country.  Explore below to see which projects Make Music Chicago will be joining.  Please contact us at mmc@imfchicago.org if you are interested in taking part in one of these projects.

FLOWERPOT MUSIC

Music on June 21 can come from anyone, anywhere, and anything – even flowerpots.

Flowerpot Music, written by award-winning composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry, is a composition for an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument – the flowerpot! Bell-like tones are passed from performer to performer in improvised gestures called “blooms” that sweep through the group. The piece is written in simple prose, and can be performed by non-musicians and musicians alike.

Groups around the world will assemble on June 21st, with safe social distance, to premiere a special version of the piece “Flowerpot Music: Make Music Day book.

GLOBAL LIVE STREAM

On June 21, music rings out simultaneously across more than 120 countries. Whether you are beneath a skyscraper in Beijing or along the shore of a small Greek fishing village, you will find people making music.

In 2021, for the third year, the Make Music Alliance is organizing a day-long video stream on June 21 showing the rich diversity of Make Music Day events around the world.  Check back later to find out how you can be considered for this year’s livestream. 

To see last summer’s livestream, go to https://www.makemusicday.org/national-projects/live-streaming/.

GLOBAL FOLK EXCHANGE

Global Folk Exchange – Share a folk song from your country, and learn and perform a folk song from across the globe on Make Music Day. Several of you have asked if you can participate in #MySongIsYourSong if you don’t write your own music. This project is your chance! The song swap for global cultures. Register by May 14!


In 2021, for the third year, the Make Music Alliance is organizing a day-long video stream on June 21 showing the rich diversity of Make Music Day events around the world.  Check back later to find out how you can be considered for this year’s livestream.

INTERNATIONAL DRUM BATTLE

International Drum Battle – Calling all drum and percussion groups for a virtual concert and workshops on Make Music Day celebrating the diversity of percussion music around the world. Register by May 21!

JUNKOPHONICS

LEAF MUSIC

MIXMASHED STUDIOS

MixMash Studios brings together music makers and sound samplers from across the globe to create new and imaginative compositions. MixMash Studios will invite people around the world to contribute samples between June 6 – June 20, 2021—recordings of bass lines, barking dogs, vocals, machine noises, or anything else they find intriguing.

Then, on Make Music Day, producers will have 24 hours to create an original piece of music using only the samples provided, and nothing more. Some producers will take on the additional challenge – and glory – of livestreaming their production process and creating a finished track in just one hour! MixMash Studios is a collaboration between the Make Music Alliance, Make Music Day UK, and Make Music Australia.

To hear last summer’s compositions, including those by prominent Chicagoans — sound artist Eric Leonardson and producer Rob Smooth — go to https://www.makemusicday.org/national-projects/mixmash-studios/

MUSIC LESSON MARATHON

In addition to the many workshops and lessons offered by teachers in the Chicago area, the national Make Music Alliance has also assembled national brands and partners who will be curating day-long marathons of live, free, online group lessons taught by dozens of master musicians on a wide array of instruments. Jump around to sample different instruments, or binge on your favorite! There will be offerings for all ages, and all skill levels – from beginning to advanced.

Lesson partners will include Dance Music Initiative, Flight Ukuleles, Hohner Harmonicas, Music Teachers National Association, Nuvo Instruments, and more to come! Check back here in June for more details on the offerings, and links to register and join!

#MY SONG IS YOUR SONG

Artists around the world are invited to the second annual global song swap! Learn a song by another artist, and hear yours covered in return. Songwriters and composers of all styles and walks of life are invited to participate.

In early June, participating artists will be paired together, carefully selected based on the registration form. They’ll have two weeks to learn their partner’s song, and make it their own, before sharing their videos on June 21st!  

Starting May 1st, go to www.makemusicday.org/songswap to register.  Registration closes on May 31st.  

To hear a sample of last year’s covers, including one by Chicago’s own Sarah Coco, go to https://www.makemusicday.org/national-projects/mysongisyoursong/.

THE AMERICAN SONG

For Make Music Day 2020, 50 songwriters were invited to capture the stories of ordinary people from around the country and write a song about them in a single day. On the morning of June 21st, each songwriter video-chatted with one interviewee for an hour. In the afternoon, they wrote a song inspired by their conversation. That evening, they did a second video-chat with the interviewee and gave a live, private performance of the song they wrote.  To see these performances, go to https://www.makemusicday.org/national-projects/the-american-song/

The American Song returns in 2021 with another song for each state. Please contact us at mmc@imfchicago.org if you are interested in having your story turned into song, or if you are a songwriter looking for a new challenge.

TRACK MEET

THIS MOMENT IN TIME

WINDOW SERENADES

Window Serenades share the joy of live music with isolated elderly people, bringing solo musicians or small groups to play outside nursing home windows for those who request a song.

Created as a socially-distanced program in 2020 to provide safe musical performances during a global pandemic, Window Serenades is becoming an annual Make Music Day tradition, relevant for anyone who is isolated and needs live music in their life.

To see last year’s participating musicians and residences, go to https://makemusicchicago.org/6247-2/

YOUNG COMPOSERS COMPETITION

For the second year, in celebration of Make Music Day, the Make Music Alliance is hosting a composition contest for composers aged 13-21.

In 2021, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of May 31 – June 1, 1921, young composers are invited to write a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the massacre by B.C. Franklin, and submit it by May 31st. 

A panel of distinguished judges, including composers Hiroya Miura and Trevor Weston, composer/conductor Francisco Núñez, and soprano Talise Trevigne, will provide feedback and select 3 winning pieces.

These pieces will be professionally recorded by baritone Christopher Herbert and released online for Make Music Day on June 21st. Winning composers will also receive a free copy of Finale music notation software, courtesy of Make Music Inc.

For entry details and deadlines, go to https://www.makemusicday.org/national-projects/young-composers-contest/.