©2018 by Tyler Cessor

Current Projects & Programs

Below are a few of Tyler's current creative projects and concert programs. He also works as a freelance and collaborative artist throughout the year. Follow him on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about event dates and collaborations!

Find interest in a project below? Send Tyler a message to book an event!


Contributing Author for: My Body Was Left on the Street: Music Education and Displacement

This book project is led by two faculty members from Boston University and will be published in 2019 by Sense Publishers as part of their Innovations and Controversies: Interrogating Educational Change series.

Tyler’s chapter focuses on the displacement of non-dominant arts organizations in the Twin Cities that are led by and for non-dominant communities. Through collaboration with organizational leaders, this chapter will establish a multimodal framework for developing galvanizing partnerships between music education organizations and community-based non-dominant arts and cultural organizations. The chapter is primarily influenced by reports that have shown 77% of all philanthropic funding (donors, state grants, foundation grants, etc.) in Minnesota is funneled into the top 5% of arts organizations, none of which are led by or for communities-of-color. The effects of these unjust philanthropic practices and hoarding of tax-generated public dollars has been painfully apparent in the closing of non-dominant organizations such as Patrick’s Cabaret, Intermedia Arts, Café Southside, and RARE Productions among others during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Coach a Musician: Breaking the Barriers to Creative Music Making

In this performance piece, the people without musical training act as the experts and explore how creativity develops in music. 4-6 guest musician-actors act as the mentees of each group of participants. Audience-mentors attempt to “build” four musicians from a pile of instruments, an array of musical choices, and several bags of "tricks" for musical development. After each of three trial-runs (mini-performances) mentor groups review their process, re-shape, rebuild and try again. The process closes with performances of each musician-actor's actual work followed by introductions to organizations working to create meaningful change in our schools!

The premiere performance took place at Wing Young Huie’s Third Place Gallery in the Summer of 2017. It featured Twin Cities Artists and Musicians, Michael Duffy, Crystal Hall, Antoine Martinneau, and Davu Seru. Tyler was awarded a $2500 grant from the McKnight Foundation in support of this event.

Throughout the piece, the community's perspective on the development of creativity in music is centered. By "flipping" the roles community members, acting as experts, will explore and provide input on current and alternative teaching practices. Musicians and teachers, acting as students, will gain new prospective on the teaching and learning process, providing much needed counterpoint to how formal music is taught.

The project is largely inspired by the principles of Augusto Boal’s poetics of the oppressed in which those often seen as “spectators,” or passive participants to the creative process, are instead seen as agents of change who “try out solutions” and “discuss plans for change.” Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra of trained and un-trained
musicians and their later realization of the intended and unintended social impact of music is also of particular influence.

Doctoral Document: Introductory Guide to Creating Multicultural Inclusive Learning Environment in Higher Education Music Programs

As the capstone project of Tyler’s doctoral work at the University of Minnesota School of Music and the Center for Educational Innovation, this guide establishes 4 interactive phases for creating multicultural and inclusive learning environments. At its core, this document aims to extended principles and practices from adult learning, critical pedagogy, and critical theory research, among others, to the field of music learning. The expanded version will serve as a reference guide for faculty, teaching assistants, and community music teachers alike.

Popularization of Oppressive Language: An Interactive Concert

In 2015, Tyler first collaborated with Breaking Free, a non-profit advocacy organization for victims and survivors of sex trafficking, to address popular culture’s, and classical music’s, exploitation of trauma and the dehumanization of victims of sex trafficking and domestic abuse. The original project had audience members read aloud poetry written by survivors. Read at sight and unrehearsed, audiences members gave emotional readings of these graphic and unsettling lived experiences.

In collaboration with local organizations that are led by and/or for survivors, Tyler is currently working to expand this project using a listen-learn-act framework for each event. Audience members will listen to the stories of victims and survivors to witness the reality of these experiences, learn about current initiatives for change, and develop specific action items through an interactive activity facilitated by Tyler and members of partner organizations.