nationwide initiatives

With most Make Music Day activities moving online this year, it has become easier than ever for Make Music Day cities from around the country to come together for national projects.  Explore below to see how Make Music Chicago is taking part in these initiatives.

25 X 12

In addition to the many workshops and lessons offered by teachers in the Chicago area, the national Make Music Alliance has also assembled teachers and master musicians to offer 12 hours of free, online group lessons for 25 different instruments, at a range of levels from beginning to advanced.  Check out the offerings here.  A special shout out to Aloha Center Chicago’s Lanialoha Lee for offering her “Power Strums 101 Ukulele Strumming Method” for this project!


Ever wonder what it is like to be a music producer? By tuning into Bedroom Studios this past June 21st, we caught a glimpse of their creative process.  Prominent Chicago music makers — sound artist Eric Leonardson and producer Rob Smooth — composed their own original tracks on-the-spot using sound materials submitted by people from all over the world.  To hear what they created, click on one of the links below:

Eric Leonardson: Metal Breathe

Rob Smooth: Beat

To see all the participants from around the world, go to Make Music Day.  


Chicago-based experimental percussion group Beyond This Point joins over two dozen groups from around the world for a 9-hour, continuously live-streamed performance of Flowerpot Music by Elliot Cole.   Check out the whole performance here.  Beyond This Point starts at 2:09:15.


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 2020, for the second year, the Make Music Alliance is organized a day-long video stream on
June 21 showing the rich diversity of Make Music Day events around the world.
Check it out here.


The Heart Chant is a participatory Deep Listening meditation. Written by Pauline Oliveros in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, the Heart Chant is an offering of sonic healing for all beings through listening and vocalization. Heart Chant‘s simple instructions invite anyone and everyone to participate, no musical training is required! 

This year, people anywhere in the world are invited to join in a virtual Heart Chant, hosted by Pauline’s widow IONEMusic on the Rebound, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble. Tune in LIVE from your phone or computer to be a part of a uniquely powerful collective healing, that we need more than ever in this time of social distance.


A huge thank you to Chicago musician Sarah Coco for participating in #MySongIsYourSong, the global song swap.  Go here to listen to Sarah cover a song from Bethany Larsen of Provo, Utah; listen to Bethany’s cover of Sarah’s song here.


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  To check out Illinois, see below.


Make Music Chicago is pairing musicians with nursing homes to help bring music to those who are most vulnerable and especially isolated during this time. Nursing home residents who would like a serenade will place a Make Music Chicago flyer in their window. Musicians will travel to the nursing homes, scan the building’s windows for flyers, and offer a serenade outside each window displaying a poster.  Click here to see participating musicians and nursing homes. 


Join Evanston resident and trombonist Carey Anne Farrell of Clamor & Lace Noise Brigade marched up the Evanston lakefront between Lee and Dempster as the World’s Smallest Marching Band.  Watch a short clip of it  here. 


In celebration of Make Music Day, Make Music Alliance hosted a composition contest for young
composers aged 13-21. Young composers were invited to write a short, 3-minute piece for SATB vocal quartet, set to William Carlos Williams’s poem, “By the road to the contagious hospital”.  A panel of distinguished judges, made up of composers David T. Little, Ellen Reid, Christopher Tin and conductor Anna Lapwood, selected three winning pieces and seven honorable mentions. All ten pieces have been professionally recorded by the all-star Make Music Quarantet, and can be heard here.