Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music occurring on June 21, announced its updated schedule of in-person and virtual music-making events that will immerse and enthrall participants while showcasing music’s power to connect, comfort, unite and uplift.

Featuring thousands of free outdoor concerts, performances, music lessons and jam sessions nationwide, the all-day musical celebration on the summer solstice will be held in over 100 U.S. cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin. This year’s event will return to a mostly in-person experience after last year’s pivoted to a largely virtual one due to the pandemic. Safety protocols will remain in place.

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 a free and open invitation for everyone to make, enjoy, perform, teach, learn and experience the joy of making music on the longest day of the year.

U.S. cities hosting major celebrations this year include New York, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Miami, Fla.; and more. Additionally, iconic buildings, landmarks and attractions in participating U.S. cities will shine orange in honor of Make Music Day.

Launched in France in 1982 as the te de la Musique, Make Music Day has become a global sensation, observed 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.

What to Expect From This Year’s Make Music Day

To remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19, Make Music Day will present a musical memorial, “This Moment in Time,” a series of gong performances nationwide and globally. At noon local time, a noted musician will play on a large gong for one straight hour, marking the year of incalculable loss, but also ushering in a new era. The performances will be live streamed to Afterwards, in many locations, the public will be invited to play the gongs. This Moment in Time observances will take place in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and 15 U.S. cities, with more locations to be announced.

Additional national highlights of Make Music Day in the U.S. will include:

  • Flowerpot Music — A new collection of pieces by composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry features an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument: the flowerpot.
  • Junkophonics — Cities across the U.S. will host junkophonics workshops where people of all ages can build wind, percussion and string instruments out of found objects.
  • Leaf Music — All around us, an exquisite musical instrument is hidden in plain site: the leaf. Music fans everywhere are urged to find their favorite tree and try the most common uncommon instrument.
  • Mass Appeal — People of all ages and skill levels will join together to make music in over 150 large, single-instrument groups. Anyone can take part, and in many cases, you don’t even need to bring an instrument!
  • MixMash Studios — The public is invited to send in short recordings of bass lines, barking dogs, vocals, machine noises or anything else they find intriguing. Then, on June 21, producers will create an original piece using only those samples, and nothing more.
  • Music Lesson Marathon — Shake the dust off your instrument and start playing again, or try an instrument for the first time. Dozens of master musicians across a wide variety of instruments will be offering 12 hours of live, free online group lessons on Make Music Day.
  • #MySongIsYourSong — Musicians will participate in a global song swap where they’ll learn an original song by another artist, and hear theirs covered in return.
  • The American Song — Capturing the stories and experiences of ordinary people across the U.S., the Make Music Alliance will pair 50 people — one from each state — with 50 professional songwriters. On June 21, each songwriter will video chat with their partner, write a song inspired by their talk, and then, during a second video chat, perform the song for their partner.
  • Track Meet — Over six hours, teams of four musicians will create brand new original tracks in a creative relay. Using SoundTrap, each musician will get one hour to add their contribution before the next teammate takes over. The final tracks will be hosted online for all to enjoy.
  • Window Serenades — Musicians will continue the new MMD tradition of sharing the joy of live music with isolated elderly people by playing outside nursing home windows in 16 cities for those who request a song.
  • Young Composers Contest — To mark the Tulsa Race Massacre’s 100th anniversary, composers aged 13-21 wrote a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the tragedy. A panel of distinguished judges will select three winning pieces that will be recorded and released online on June 21.

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 A full schedule of virtual and in-person events will be posted on the website in early June.

For more features from the Music & Sound Retailer, click here.

No more articles