Making Positive Impact Through Music

Music educators have a role in facilitating responses, music learning and teaching in relation to hate and bigotry occurring throughout contemporary society. 

Valerie Strauss suggests that “The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about hatred in America” and provides numerous resources for doing so. Music plays an important role in helping people make sense of, meaning, of, and respond to the world. Music programs can play an important role in supporting young people express themselves through music.

Efforts to address current events take thoughtfulness and empathy. If you plan to provide the space in your program to have students explore recent and future events where bigotry and hatred occur throughout society, and larger issues of justice, equity here are some resources below.

Note: This post is an attempt to make meaning and address current events where bigotry and hatred are explicit as well as long-term societal issues that are less explicit, so it is incomplete and will always be incomplete. Continue to search for resources and collaborators! Please submit resources, links, other efforts that you think should be added in the comments. If there are larger initiatives taking place let me and others know as well. The post began in connection to the #CharlottesvileCurriculum  initiative, but is in process of addressing longer-term issues of equity and justice.

Remember the importance of addressing one’s own local context and community. Consider the larger overarching issues of hate, bigotry as well as equity, justice, and community that are far longer-lasting than a particular moment or event.

Scroll to the bottom for musical responses shared online.

Potential Generative Questions For Music Programs

  • How might music learning communities respond to events or moments in time where bigotry or hatred are explicit?
  • How might music learning communities respond to long-term and less-explicit aspects of bigotry and injustice?
  • What roles can music play in addressing hate?
  • What roles can music play in fostering love, fellowship, understanding, and community?
  • How might people use music to de-escalate and diffuse tensions?
  • How might music contribute to justice and equity?
  • What are our responsibilities and opportunities as musical and artistic citizens in times of tension?


Music Learning and Teaching



Prior Posts on Music Education and Social Justice or Responding to Events

Musical Responses

Wilco created the song “All Lives, You Say?” and will be donating all proceeds of its sale to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Anti Flag’s song Racists and related Facebook post


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