Let’s decolonise music in high schoolsNews
Instructional Supervisor and Opera singer Dr. Kevin Johnson is working to comb through school K-12 music libraries in New York City to build a diverse, culturally-responsive music repertoire for school ensembles and music classes.
Dr. Johnson says:
“Historically, white Western European and American music, narratives, and practices have dominated music classrooms. Additionally, Black musicians accounted for only 1.8 percent of the country’s orchestra players in 2014. The work of fostering the next generation of musicians and classical music audiences begins in the classroom and the truths we tell. “
“We cannot combat racism, inequity, and injustice without facing ourselves. This past year, ETM reviewed our library of over 1,400 pieces of repertoire and curricular resources to ensure the music education we are providing our students both represents their cultures and exposes them to new ones as well. This includes unrooting the repertoire deeply embedded into American popular culture that has caused and continues to cause harm to Black and Brown students. We have done this in part by removing some music from our repertoire, and by providing important cultural and historical context which will be shared with students in class. In engaging our students with the full breadth of Black and American Music History, we can champion the next generation of musicians to engage and do the same.”
More on this topic from a recent podcast here.