Scot Rademaker, Ph.D.


Music Education


College of Visual and Performing Arts


Music Theatre & Dance


There exists a significant underrepresentation of racial minorities, low-income students, and English Language Learners (ELLs) in the average American music program (Elpus & Abril, 2011; Hoffman, 2011). Factors that perpetuate this underrepresentation include cultural homogeneity of music educators, and a Eurocentric approach to music education that does not validate the musical skills of students from other cultures. This study examines the self-reported inclusion, diversification, and accommodation strategies of public high school music teachers in the southeastern United States. This study explores what measures music educators are taking to combat underrepresentation, and to what extent they are prioritizing inclusion. This study seeks to understand the role of the music educator in directing marginalized groups into music programs. Music educators, of any music class taught, from roughly fifteen of the largest public high schools in twelve southeastern states were recruited to share their experiences in an online survey. Results indicated that, although there was a theme of deeper commitment to including low-income students, music educators lack a sufficient toolbox of accommodation strategies for marginalized groups. These findings could possibly direct music educators toward designing equitable public music curricula that is equipped to serve all students in future classrooms. These findings also implicate that reforms in conventional music programs toward student-service, rather than product-centered, may increase diversity in participants.

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