The International Contemporary Ensemble believes new music is for everyone. Our educational programs seek to afford creatively underserved young artists opportunities to meaningfully connect with ICE musicians, composers and collaborators. In a range of programs suitable for all experience levels, ICE’s educational team devises a curriculum that adapts to students’ unique needs and aptitudes. Prioritizing public school classroom workshops, community outreach events, and free children’s concerts, ICE in Education aims to inspire creativity, ingenuity, and experimentation to young minds in critical need of enrichment.

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The Listening Room: A New Approach to Music Education

The Listening Room, a new curriculum currently in its third year, places experimental music at the center of a new approach to music education.  Targeting public schools with no formal music program, the curriculum draws on the rich vocabulary of experimental music—improvisation, graphic scores, team-based performances, and non-traditional instruments—to teach collaborative creative skills to students of all ages and skill levels. 

The Listening Room creates an opportunity for young people with no prior musical experience to create and perform original compositions.  In workshops led by ICE teaching artists, teams of students work together to develop a vocabulary of sounds, translate these sounds into visual symbols, and use those symbols to create graphic scores.  Students then lead ICE musicians in collaborative performances of their work. 

ICE’s goal in building The Listening Room is to provide an opportunity for every student to experience the unique challenges of collaborative creative work—an essential opening for growth that is out of reach in many schools.  By engaging young people in the creative process of composition, ICE nurtures a diverse and committed audience for the experimental music of tomorrow.

ICE offers The Listening Room free of charge to schools.  It has been developed in collaboration with Baruch College Campus High School, PS 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and Composers and Schools in Concert.  The project receives support from the Concinnity Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.