Statement on Diversity
As a music educator who has taught in a variety of school settings, I have dedicated myself to cultivating a learning environment that is inclusive for all my students. In addition to ensuring that my students are valued for their individual identities, I work to instill a culture of openness to thoughts and ideas from their unique experiences.
As an applied trombone instructor, I provide students with assignments where they share personal musical experiences they’ve had in church, with family, or from other experiences. I encourage them to engage with other students who may not have shared those same types of experiences. I also include the work of composers from diverse backgrounds for every concert that ensembles under my direction perform, rather than programming special concerts that feature composers of specific minority groups. I believe that this approach demonstrates that our commitment to inclusion isn’t reserved for special occasions but is part of our everyday experience.
This commitment isn’t limited to the concerts we perform. In my role as Coordinator of Music Theory at Houston High School in Germantown, TN I designed and implemented curriculum that includes musical examples from a variety of cultural and ethnic traditions. My students are frequently called on to respond to music outside of the western European common practice period and to draw connections among the various works.
As the Audition Coordinator for the Shelby County Schools Creative and Performing Arts program, I strived to connect with students of varying backgrounds and socio-economic situations. We performed concerts and clinics in the schools, churches, and community centers that serve our diverse local population. Our student leadership worked to connect with potential members from their own communities as well as those from across the area. Our marketing materials and social media presence celebrated our students and their families.
Every situation is unique, but a commitment to diversity and inclusion is a value that we must all share. I continue to work towards creating a learning environment that embodies these ideals with an empathetic approach that ensures my students feel safe and valued as individuals. While I am proud of the progress made by the organizations with which I have worked, I recognize that consistent vigilance is required to ensure that our institutions are places that celebrate the cultural traditions and individual identities of all students, faculty, and administration.