The Trade Winds Ensemble recently received a 2020 Baldwin Funded Seed Project Grant. The ensemble, led by Midori Samson, is a group of six teaching artists interested in the emergence of music education and social justice.

The Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment is a competitive grant program that fosters public engagement and the advancement of the Wisconsin Idea, the notion that the knowledge and solutions generated at UW-Madison will benefit the people of Wisconsin, the nation, and the world.

Proposals are encouraged for new outreach and public engagement activities that partner with community and off-campus organizations to extend and apply our research, education and practice-based knowledge to help solve problems or take advantage of opportunities. Learn more about the 2020 Baldwin Funded Seed Project grants.

Midori is a bassoonist, educator, and activist whose goal is that antiracism and anti-oppression permeate every aspect of her musicianship. In addition to her role as Trade Winds Ensemble’s Artistic Director, she is the newly appointed Lecturer of Bassoon at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She also holds the positions of 2nd Bassoon in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Principal Bassoon in the Beloit-Janesville Symphony.

Midori holds an undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School and a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in bassoon and social welfare at UW-Madison where she is a Collins Fellow, the School of Music’s highest honor. Her dissertation—which is in progress—will discuss the integration of music education and social work and will focus on Trade Winds.

Midori writes in the project description: 

I currently serve as Co-Founding Artistic Director of Trade Winds Ensemble. We have developed a two-week music composition curriculum for children who have never taken music classes before. Since our founding in 2013 we have implemented this curriculum in Kenya, Tanzania, Haiti, Chicago, and Detroit. Beginning in summer 2020, we will complete a program evaluation of our curriculum by implementing it again in Kenya, Tanzania, and Detroit. Receiving a Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Project Grant would make this program evaluation possible.

We anticipate that at the end of each two-week workshop, students will have composed and performed their own original pieces of music, they will have learned about teamwork, confidence, individuality, problem solving, and identity, and they will leave feeling like musicians. This curriculum, as well as observations about the implementation of it in three cities, will be published in my doctoral project paper in Spring 2021. The paper will introduce Trade Winds Ensemble’s curriculum as a new method of teaching music with a social justice lens. We will pull from social work literature and research to implement and evaluate our curriculum, which has been created in consideration of our student-community’s history of colonization and oppression.