value systems…society views heterosexuality as the standard and all others as deviations.” (Garret, 2012). Conversations with local LGBTQ+ organizations, support groups, and even just local families is one of the first steps an educator can take to bring awareness to the classroom. LGBTQ+ students want to learn and be involved in music just as desperately as heterosexual students. Therefore, it is important to “advertise” your program correctly to the entire community of students. For example, using sports and other “manly” things to bring people through your choir’s doors is a strategy that leaves out a good percentage of young men who do not resonate with sports or “manly” things. McBride mentions an advertisement he saw that read, “REAL MEN SING”. A seemingly attractive idea, but not one that will appeal to all young men. If a student desires to sing and truly has a hunger for music, that pupil should be your target— and they may not follow the conventional “masculinity” stereotype. Instead of a stereotype, advertise your group to the young musicians out there who simply want to make music.

It is amazing that music can provide a safe place for LGBTQ+ students when schools have not yet stepped up to the plate. The culture of the music classroom determines the future of the program, so it is important to keep it inclusive and open but to not change oneself in the process of creating the classroom culture. For example, an LGBTQ+ teacher would not benefit from imitating a gender stereotype (heterosexual Male/Female) in the classroom. In contrast, a person of religion does not need to “convert” to anything new to create a safe classroom, nor does a straight person need to strive to hide their sexuality. These are simply examples of personal bias that the educator should be aware of. Curriculum across schools is improving with inclusivity of LGBTQ+ influencers being mentioned throughout history. In music, Bergonzi suggests we improve how we represent music history by speaking more broadly of music. This can be done by

ala breve

Deshawn Sewer, T reasurer (Alabama A&M University) DeLee Benton, President (University of Montevallo)

Jackson Vaughan, VP/President-Elect (Samford University) Isabelle Paige, Secretary (University of Alabama)

mentioning other cultures, women in music, and the immense influence LGBTQ+ composers and performers have had on western music for decades. (2009).

Students should not feel as though they are a thing that does not belong in society and has not existed until now. As Bergonzi (2009) says, “Sexual orientation in music education is not a new phenomenon.” LGBTQ+ students have the opportunity to discover music and what it means to them in their own lives through the music classroom. Music educators are the crucial piece of the safe space puzzle, providing the tools, support, and acknowledgment students need to succeed. The role and influence of music educators in the lives of LGBTQ+ students is an essential first step to those same students going out into the world and discovering what being LGBTQ+ means to them and how they can share their story with the world, creating an endless cycle of love and support for future students.

Works Cited

Bergonzi, Louis. “Sexual Orientation and Music Education: Continuing a Tradition.” Music Educators Journal, December 2009, pp. 21-25.

Garrett, Mathew L. “The LGBTQ Component of 21st-Century Music Teacher Training: Strategies for Inclusion From the Research Literature.” Applications of Research in Music Education, November 2012, pp. 55-62. Lehmann, Andreas, Woody, Robert, and Sloboda, John A. (2007). Psychology

for Musicians:

Understanding and Acquiring the Skills. New York: Oxford University Press.

McBride, Nicholas R. “Singing, Sissies, and Sexual Identity.” Music Educators Journal, June 2016, pp. 36-40.


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