Reflections from college music instructors offering various approaches to inclusive, supportive pedagogy in the classroom.
Teaching Difficult Topics provides a series of on-the-ground reflections from college music instructors working in a wide variety of institutional settings about their approaches to inclusive, supportive pedagogy in the music classroom. Although some imagine the music classroom to be an apolitical space, instructors find themselves increasingly in need of resources for incorporating issues of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and historical trauma into their classrooms in ways that support student learning and safeguard their classroom communities.
The teaching reflections in Teaching Difficult Topics examine difficult themes that fall into three primary categories: subjects that instructors sense to be controversial or emotionally challenging to discuss, those that derive from or intersect with real-world events that are difficult to process, and bigger-picture discussions of how music studies often focuses on dominant narratives while overlooking other perspectives. Some chapters offer practical guidance, lesson plans, and teaching materials to enable instructors to build discussions of race, gender, sexuality, and traumatic histories into their own classrooms; others take a more global view, reflecting on the importance and relevance of teaching these difficult topics and on how to respond in the music classroom when external events disrupt daily life.
Olivia R. Lucas is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Louisiana State University.
Laura Moore Pruett is an Associate Professor of Music at Merrimack College.
"Teaching Difficult Topics is a valuable collection of essays that is particularly strong in addressing difficult topics that deal with race and ethnicity. It provides a range of case studies from across music disciplines to inspire instructors to engage with, rather than avoid, difficult conversations with music students in and out of the classroom.”- Robin Attas
– Robin Attas, University of Manitoba
"Teaching Difficult Topics reinvigorates the notion of teaching music within context rather than outside of it: not just the context of the music and its creators/performers, but the context of the students and instructors studying it. As a whole, it presents diverse approaches to the topic, from individual case studies of specific courses, to teaching methods for specific works or topics, to personal discussions of how instructors dealt with world events that impacted their students and themselves."- Eric Hung
– Eric Hung, Music of Asian America Research Center