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Education Mission Statement
As an ever-growing artist and educator, I am continually expanding my definition of what “music education” can and should be. That means engaging with praxes that prioritize community, accessibility, nourishment and liberation in the music learning space. That also means disrupting the aspects of teaching that perpetuate prohibitive, inaccessible, and colonial ideals.
I strive to be a music educator who:
Prioritizes being in community over skill.
As a traumatized jazz kid of yesteryear, let me address the genre-confused (genre-queer!) students in the room: Hello sweeties. Please remember chops aren’t everything! It’s okay to be gentle. So good to be soft and slow. To simply create noise for noise’s sake. To make a sound that nourishes instead of punishes, doing away with the scarcity mindset that pits us against our community. Abundance abounds! There is, and always has been, room for everyone.
Engages with diverse ways of learning.
Reading music is cool, if that’s your thing. Remote learning might work great for you, or maybe your your back hurts and your internet sucks. Maybe you simply want to work your way through the “List of Girl Groups” Wikipedia page (look it up). There is so much out there - let’s use our ears, eyes, hands, and make it up as we go.
Challenges the historical dominance of white Western European and American narratives and practices in music spaces, and centers Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian musical voices, knowledge and experiences.
Decolonizing music education* is imperative albeit complex work. It requires shining a light on pre-existing learning models, while also holding up a mirror to ourselves and being honest about where we exist within them. As for me, I’ve received formal university music training; I went through a traditional public school system; I grew up with access to private music lessons, group ensembles, and countless other performance opportunities. These were all valuable learning experiences—and they also contained systemic mechanisms built to uphold colonial, patriarchal, and racist ideals/narratives. I owe it to myself and my community to examine these models, to disrupt the parts of them that are barriers to learning, and to strive for something better.
*What I’m talking about here doesn’t (and shouldn’t) fit into a single bullet point. So whether this terminology is new to you, or you just want to learn more, I recommend checking out “Decolonizing the Music Room” as an excellent resource to start.
Ensures financial accessibility, transparency, and upholds collective prosperity.
When it comes to rates, I use a sliding scale model and will continue expanding my definition of what that means. At the end of the day, my teaching services are a business, but I also strive to be a medium to redistribute some wealth and imagine models alternative to capitalism altogether.
Prioritizes health, safety and ease in the learning space.
Our mental and physical well-beings not only influence learning spaces—they are the learning spaces! Whether we’re together in a physical classroom or the Zoom-kind, let’s push back against prevailing values telling us to put ourselves last. Instead, we can practice community care by listening to each other and advocating for our needs.
Continues evolving into a better, more-realized educator and self!
I’m a teacher and also a human being—so the self-reflection will never stop, even if I wanted it to. I promise to maintain transparency as I continue the nuanced work towards betterment; to honor the mistakes I make along the way as part of the learning process; and to embrace the accountability of my community and my own self-knowledge to keep going~
I must credit “emergent strategies” by adrienne maree brown as well as Decolonizing the Music Room for helping radically transform my teaching praxes and inform these reflections.
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