Artists in Juvenile Justice Initiative Expands, Launches Annual Statewide Youth Showcase

Hip-hop drumming performance at Massachusetts State House

A student group led by ThisWorldMusic Founder Jeremy Cohen performed at the Massachusetts State House as part of the Department of Youth Services “Share Your Art – Share Your Voice!” showcase.


With the 2nd Annual Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) “Share Your Art – Share Your Voice!” statewide showcase coming up on June 17th at UMass Boston, I thought I’d share some pictures from last year’s inaugural showcase.

First, a little background: In 2006 the Massachusetts-based non-profit Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) initiated Unlocking the Light, an arts integration and professional development program designed to aid teachers working in Massachusetts DYS juvenile detention facilities. READ MORE

Studying Dance in Africa with TWM and Saint Mary’s College

Ballet dancerStarting this January, students enrolled in LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals) — the Bachelor of Arts degree program designed for current and former professional dancers at Saint Mary’s College of California — will have the opportunity to study traditional music and dance in the West African country of Ghana while receiving academic credit toward their degrees. This is thanks to a new collaboration with ThisWorldMusic®, a Massachusetts-based company that partners with educational institutions and arts organizations to offer innovative, hands-on cultural learning experiences, both in the U.S. and abroad. READ MORE

VH1 Reality Show Off Pitch Features Ghana Study Abroad Alum

VH1 Reality Show <i>Off Pitch</i> Features Ghana Study Abroad Alum

Our Ghana study abroad participants are always an eclectic bunch. As proof, look no further than program alum Eric Busse, currently starring in VH1’s new reality show Off Pitch, which chronicles the Grand River Singers (GRS) of La Crosse, Wisconsin. According to Founder and Artistic Director Rob Jones, GRS is the only all-adult, Glee-inspired community show choir in the U.S.

Check out the trailer:

Teaching Music in Urban Schools: One Educator’s Journey (Part II)

Today on the blog we are pleased to feature the second in a two-part guest post from Elizabeth Green, a music educator in New York City and participant on the summer 2012 ThisWorldMusic Study in Ghana program.

“You’re so lucky you teach music! The kids love music!”

So said a colleague one day as he dropped some students off for my Music Therapy class.

Me? Lucky? I’m lucky I remembered my turkey sandwich for lunch! Wait…they truly love music? Probably. Did they love my Music Class? Probably not.

I certainly make an effort to get them to love my class. I’m energetic. I make them laugh. I feel I can relate well to strugglers as well as smarty-pants in the classroom. Most of all, I love music and I love working with kids. READ MORE

Sounds of the Rainforest: Arts-Integrated Music Education

Sounds of the 4 layers of rainforestJust wrapped up a weeklong artist residency for Young Audiences at Lincoln Elementary School in Melrose, Mass., titled “Sounds of the Rainforest.” It was a great week, though these kids were so knowledgeable about the rainforest that at times it felt like they were teaching me!

For example, did you know that howler monkeys are the loudest animals on the planet aside from blue whales? Or that only 2% of the sunlight that shines on the rainforest makes it all the way down to the forest floor?

To learn more, and to get ideas for an interdisciplinary, arts-integrated rainforest unit of your own, take a look below at the detailed program notes that we put together for our final assembly “informance.” READ MORE

WATCH: Afrobeat Group Antibalas on Jimmy Kimmel: “Dirty Money”

WATCH: Afrobeat Group Antibalas on Jimmy Kimmel: "Dirty Money"

The winter 2013 session of ThisWorldMusic’s Ghana Study Abroad program just concluded! Our groups are always eclectic mixes of musicians, dancers and educators from around the world, and this past trip was no different.

We’ll have more on the most recent crop of participants in an upcoming post, but today we’re featuring a participant from the 2012 winter study abroad program: drummer, bandleader and NYU music student Miles Arntzen. In addition to his academic obligations, Miles manages to find time to hold down the drum chair for a number of high-profile New York City afrobeat and afro-rock groups, including Superhuman Happiness, EMEFE (his own project) and, most notably, the Fela Kuti-inspired, globetrotting, 12-piece powerhouse that is Antibalas. (Both EMEFE and Antibalas made the Top 15 Afrobeat Albums of 2012.)

After establishing itself as the preeminent U.S.-based afrobeat band, Antibalas gained wider exposure as the house band for the Broadway smash FELA! Based in Brooklyn, they recently released their fifth full-length album on Daptone Records and have been touring since the fall to promote it.

Here they are performing their hit “Dirty Money” last night on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live…with Miles on drums!

Antibalas Tops List of Best 15 Afrobeat Albums of 2012

Antibalas Afrobeat orchestra subway photo

Antibalas sporting the animal masks they wore on the cover of their 2012 self-titled Daptone Records release.

Courtesy of our friends over at The Afrobeat Blog, here’s a list of the Top 15 Afrobeat Albums of 2012. Topping the list is Brooklyn-based Antibalas, featuring drummer and ThisWorldMusic Ghana study abroad alum Miles Arntzen. READ MORE

Teaching Music in Urban Schools: One Educator’s Journey

Today on the ThisWorldMusic blog we are pleased to feature the first in a two-part guest post from Elizabeth Green, a music educator in New York City and participant on the summer 2012 ThisWorldMusic Study in Ghana program.

Picture it. 2 p.m, 6th grade band rehearsal, a small northeastern U.S. town. I am lost in enjoyment among the other young instrumentalists as we all try to out-play the oboe section, which is wowing everyone with their delicate rendition of “All-Play! #56.”

This was the time of day to which I looked forward the most. I was convinced that instrumental music was my future, and I excitedly mapped out the rest of my career daily during my next period class. What a wonderful career it would be! I would become a beloved band teacher, with multiple ensembles filled with a diverse bunch of eager students. They would choose to come before school for marching band practice every day and stay late to practice their instruments. I would have my own office that would hold multiple awards given for superior performances by my ensembles at world-renowned music festivals. READ MORE

From Africa to Chicago: A Children’s Game Teaches Music

Children's rock passing game Africa

Educators learning a traditional children’s rock passing game in the village of Kopeyia, Ghana.

“Holo holo holo holo, gbe sia, bne nono…” The voices of my second grade general music students sing in Ewe as the students hold the garden rocks, tracing circles on the floor. “Ala, sariki babu. Ala sariki babu.” Each student excitedly picks up his or her rock and, moving to the beat, passes the rock to the student to his or her right as they sing the phrase “Ala sariki babu” over and over. While students eagerly wait for the student next to them to pass the rock, one student inevitably ends up with multiple rocks, laughter ensues and the game starts again! This is a learning opportunity to practice singing skills, reinforce steady beat, learn about tempo, and introduce music of world cultures. READ MORE

Ghana Program Wins Top Award from Abroad101 and STA Travel

Read reviews on Abroad101 to find out why our participants give us 4.9 out of 5 stars.

We are thrilled to announce that ThisWorldMusic’s Ghana program has been named a Top Pick in the 2012 Abroad101 Study Abroad Rankings presented by STA Travel!

Thanks to our amazing participants for so many 5-star reviews, as well as to our partners, without whom this award wouldn’t have been possible: The UMass Amherst International Programs Office and UMass Department of Music & Dance, the Dagbe Cultural Institute and Arts Centre in Kopeyia, Ghana, and the National Dance Company in Accra, Ghana.

Thanks also to Abroad101 and STA Travel for the honor and for their role in promoting international education. The story was recently picked up by USA Today. READ MORE

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