Introduction: Beyond Western Musicalities


  • Maya Cunningham University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Dylan Robinson Queen's University
  • Chris Stover Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
  • Leslie Tilley Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Anna Yu Wang Harvard University



It has become increasingly clear that the way we teach music theory is not only incomplete, it is insufficient, even irresponsible. This introduction elucidates some of the key issues around diversifying and decolonizing music theory classrooms. Following a brief framing of the issues, a triptych of short thought pieces examines the contexts and implications of such questions. Dylan Robinson locates core curricula as a "ground" upon which music programs are built and which might be "given back" to BIPOC scholars to re-define; Anna Yu Wang advocates for classroom methodologies which center diverse modes of listening as foundations for music theorizing; and Maya Cunningham considers how Western music theory systems and training are historically colonial and continue to be driven by cultural and economic bias and inequity. Finally, in an ambitious co-authored work, Chris Stover, Leslie Tilley, and Anna Yu Wang organize, synthesize, and extrapolate from survey responses by twenty-four music scholar-pedagogues to offer a panoramic view on diversifying and decolonizing efforts. The essay addresses challenges, disagreements, goals, and possible ways forward, and through its explorations encourages sustained reflection, accountability, and change.




How to Cite

Cunningham, M., Robinson, D., Stover, C., Tilley, L., & Yu Wang, A. (2022). Introduction: Beyond Western Musicalities. Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, 8.



Front Matter