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5 Ways Music Education Can Celebrate Black History Month

Three young men stand around a laptop and switch board wearing headphones and laughing
  • Written byAndy Sankey, Chief Examiner for Music Performance and Production at UAL Awarding Body
  • Published date 12 October 2021
Three young men stand around a laptop and switch board wearing headphones and laughing
UAL Emerge Festival 2017

Black history month runs from the 1st to 31st October and celebrates the history and achievements of black people and communities around the world. It’s a time to reflect and ensure the delivery of music education includes equality, diversity, and inclusivity at its heart all year round.

Here are are 5 ways you may wish to do this with your students. To help we’ve also included some links to interesting websites and stimulus materials, although we do not specifically endorse these above others – there’s loads out there so do look around!

1.     Educate 

Educate your students on how black figures have shaped the music industry. Too often history has dismissed, overlooked, or undermined black artist and their influence. Develop projects and resources to celebrate and appreciate black artist, a timeline would be a good starting point:

A Timeline of history-making Black Music

Black History in Music

2.     Engage

Book a speaker who could share their experiences and help present the ongoing issues faced by the black  recording artists, session musicians, producers, technicians and others in the industry. This can be a remote event and recorded for future use and not just in Black History Month but embedded into all delivery materials.

Nate Holder – Musician, Author and Speaker

Karina H Maynard – Director, Producer and Training

3.     Review

Review your delivery material and marketing material to include more diversity in the content, including images. Use a step guide or checklist when developing delivery materials to help support you and educate students.

10 ways to Check Your Musical Bias

Diversify Your Music Lessons

4.     Resources

Use more diverse stimulus material and text that includes and represents minority groups. Allowing students to include their individual experiences and heritage within projects.

Black History Month On-Line Magazine

The Why Books and Resources – Inspiring Curious Minds

All the Streets are Silent

5.     Commit

Admitting a need for change is not admitting defeat but a movement towards growth which is to be commended. This requires a constant effort. Let’s be confident embracing positive change, and pledge to tackle discrimination every month of every year.

Tackling Discrimination