Make Music Day Returns With Exciting Lineup of Events

Elizabeth Dale

Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music will return on June 21. The festival is held on the summer solstice and features a lineup of virtual and in-person music-making events designed to connect, comfort, unite, and uplift. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a mostly virtual celebration, but many in-person events are to return this year.

The free celebration, which aims to promote the joys of making music, invites music makes of all ages and abilities to join the festival. Participants are encouraged to take part in concerts, performances, music lessons, jam sessions, and other diverse events around the globe. In the U.S. alone, over 5,000 events will be held across nearly 100 cities. All participating cities include in-person events that will follow local safety protocol requirements, which may include mask-wearing, social distancing, and limited capacity.

National highlights of Make Music Day 2021 in the U.S. will include:

Flowerpot Music: Written by award-winning composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry, “Flowerpot Music” is a composition for an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument, the flowerpot. People in cities across the U.S. will safely join to debut a special version of the piece, “Flowerpot Music: Make Music Day book.”

MMD Flowerpot Music

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Junkophonics: Learn to build and play a fun musical instrument that you create from found objects. Tips are available from Bash the Trash Environmental Arts performers, educators, and instrument builder extraordinaire Craig Woodson. Bash the Trash events will occur nationwide.

Leaf Music: In the hands of a master player, a humble tree leaf becomes an exquisite aerophone — a reed instrument like no other. Participants are encouraged to find their favorite tree and try their hand at a musical leaf, while leaf players come together for an International Leaf Music Symposium. Instructional videos will also be available to help people turn their greenery into a veritable symphony.

Leaf Music

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Live from Home: Record a musical performance from home on June 21 and tag friends to challenge them to do the same.

Mass Appeal: People of all ages and skill levels will gather online and in socially distanced, in-person settings to make music in large, single-instrument groups.

MixMash Studios: Music makers and sound samplers nationwide will join virtually to create new and imaginative compositions in a project that builds on MMD’s Street Studios (2015-19). Between June 6-20, people are welcome to add short sound samples to the global collection — bass lines, barking dogs, vocals, machine noises, or anything else they find intriguing. Then, on June 21, producers will have 24 hours to create an original piece of music using only the provided samples.

Music Lesson Marathon: Dozens of master musicians will offer 12-hours of free online group lessons on numerous instruments and across all skill levels. Jump around and experience different instruments or binge on 12 hours of your favorite. Partners include Dance Music Initiative, Flight Ukuleles, Hohner Harmonicas, Music Teachers National Association, and Nuvo Instruments.

#MySongIsYourSong: Musicians will join in a global song swap where they’ll learn a song by another artist and hear theirs covered in return. All performers are encouraged to use #MySongIsYourSong.

The American Song: Capturing the stories and experiences of people across the U.S., the Make Music Alliance will line up 50 people, one from each of the 50 states, along with 50 expert songwriters across all styles. On the morning of June 21, each songwriter will do an hour-long video chat with one of the 50 people. In the afternoon, they will write a song inspired by their conversation, and that evening, a second video chat with the person and a live private performance of the song they just wrote will take place.

The American Song

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This Moment in Time: At noon local time in cities across the world, a celebrated local musician will play a giant gong for one hour straight in a touching tribute to all lives lost during the pandemic. Afterward, the public is encouraged to come up to each gong and play it 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.

Track Meet: Teams of four musicians will race against the clock to create brand new original tracks in a creative relay. Using the virtual audio workstation, SoundTrap, each musician will have just one hour to add their contribution before the next teammate takes over. At day’s end, the tracks will be hosted online for all to hear.

Window Serenades: Musicians will continue the MMD tradition of sharing live music with the elderly. Select nursing homes will partner with local Make Music chapters to invite solo musicians to serenade residents outside their windows.

Global Livestream: The Make Music Alliance is organizing a daylong video stream showing the rich diversity of Make Music events.

Make Music Day Global Livestream

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Bramble: MMD is partnering with Bramble to create interactive virtual spaces, extending the festival’s spirit of joy and unity to online festivalgoers. Bramble allows people to virtually walk around and interact with concerts, talks, workshops, and social gatherings.

At the time of publication, participating U.S. cities are Allen (TX), Anaheim (CA), Austin (TX), Avon Lake (OH), Beaumont (TX), Beverly Hills (CA), Big Bear Lake (CA), Black Hills (SD), Charleston (SC), Charlotte (NC), Chattanooga (TN), Chicago (IL), Cincinnati (OH), Columbia (SC), Cyrstal Lake (IL), Dallas (TX), Darke County (OH), Davis (CA), Decatur (AL), Denton (TX), Denver (CO), El Paso (TX), Englewood (NJ), Federal Way (WA), Gig Harbor (WA), Hastings (MN), Houston (TX), Issaquah (WA), Ithaca (NY), Kansas City (MO), Knoxville (TN), Lancaster (PA), Liberty (MO), Los Angeles (CA), Macon (GA), Miami (FL), Minneapolis (MN), Monclair (NJ), Montgomery (AL), Nashville (TN), New York (NY), Nicholasville (KY), Orange (CA), Ossining (NY), Palm Beach County (FL), Peoria (AZ), Philadelphia (PA), Phoenix (AZ), Pittsburg (PA), Portland (ME), Rolla (MO), Roselle Park (NJ), Salem (OR), San Jose (CA), Seattle (WA), St. Louis (MO), St. Paul (MN), Temecula (CA), Topanga (CA), Tucson (AZ), Ventura County (CA), Yonkers (NY), the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, and Wisconsin, as well as globally with Make Music partners in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Nigeria, and the UK.

For more information about Make Music Day, including ways to participate, please visit and follow the conversation with #MakeMusicDay.