Worldwide celebration embodies music’s enduring power to bring joy, connectivity, healing and unity to all
Make Music Day, the NAMM Foundation’s annual global celebration of music held on the summer solstice, returns this year on June 21st with an exciting, creative and diverse lineup of both virtual and in-person music-making events that will immerse and enthrall participants while spotlighting music’s power to connect, comfort, unite and uplift. Over 90 US cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin will take part in the live, free daylong celebration, encompassing over 5,000 concerts, performances, music lessons, jam sessions and other musical events nationwide. Safety protocols will be in place following local requirements, including mask-wearing, social distancing and limited capacities and group sizes.
Completely different from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in all of us, regardless of age, ethnicity, background or skill level. Make Music Day is an open invitation for everyone to make, enjoy, perform, teach, learn and experience music on the longest day of the year. Due to the pandemic, last year’s celebration was largely virtual, but many in-person events will return in 2021.
Launched in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day has become an international phenomenon, celebrated by hundreds of millions of people in over 1,000 cities in 120 countries. Make Music Day is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance.
One global highlight of Make Music Day 2021 is a musical memorial to the pandemic’s devastation, called This Moment in Time. Working with musicians and cultural partners worldwide, massive gongs will appear in public spaces on June 21st. At noon local time, a celebrated local musician will play the going for one uninterrupted hour, marking the incalculable loss of the past year. Along with being free and open to a live audience, these performances will be live streamed to makemusicday.org. Afterwards, in many locations the public will be invited to play the gong themselves, hearing the unfathomable mystery of the sound, experiencing the cathartic feeling of hitting something massive, and feeling the deep therapeutic vibrations in their bodies.
Another new international program highlights an exquisite musical instrument that is hidden in plain sight: the leaf. Leaf Music, where a humble tree leaf is blown to create a simple reed instrument, has a long history in China, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Nepal. Leaf Music programs on June 21st will include an International Leaf Symposium over Zoom, a Track Meet where leaf musicians will collaborate sequentially with other musicians to produce new musical tracks, and instructional videos to help anyone turn their local greenery into a symphony of sound.
Other national highlights of Make Music Day 2021 in the US will include Junkophonics that entails learning how to build and play fun a musical instrument that you create from found objects. Participants can get tips from Bash the Trash Environmental Arts performers and educators as well as instrument builder extraordinaire Craig Woodson. Junkophonics Workshops are being held nationwide. With Mass Appeal, people of all ages and skill levels will join together both online and in physically distanced, in-person settings to make music in large, single-instrument groups. #MySongIsYourSong will see musicians join in a global song swap where they’ll learn an original song by another artist, and hear theirs covered in return.
Several cities throughout the country are also holding their own celebrations. Mailboxes with small speakers inside of them will be placed around a local Knoxville, TN neighborhood, creating an immersive sound experience for passersby to enjoy. In New York City, “Wake Up! Wake Up! A Choral Tapestry Honoring Our Earth,” which is presented in partnership with Diana Wege/The Earth Requiem Project, will celebrate the environmental justice movement through performances by an 18-voice professional choir directed by Malcolm J. Merriweather, readings by Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor, and the visual art works of Wege. It takes place at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in historic Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park.
In the virtual realm, Make Music Day is partnering with Bramble to create interactive spaces where participants can (virtually) walk around and interact with each other freely for concerts, talks, workshops, and social gatherings. And on the makemusicday.org website on June 21st, a 12-hour global livestream will show highlights of Make Music Day programs as they unfold around the world.
All Make Music Day events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform, or to host musical events, may register at makemusicday.org. A full schedule of virtual and in-person events will be posted on the website in early June.