Town Hall - Decolonizing the Music Room

September 9, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and the current global social uprising against white supremacy calls for a reconsideration of business as usual in music education. This Town Hall brought together different perspectives on this issue from across Canada, and urged participants to critically reexamine and reimagine the foundations of our practice. In encouraging teachers to take risks and ask questions, this conversation offered a space to reflect on the biases that are embedded in the field of music education and share ideas on how to move toward more equitable music education practices that meet the needs of this moment and the needs of our students.

Moderated by Nick Godsoe (Manager of Programs & Education, MusiCounts)


Sherryl Sewepagaham

Sherryl Sewepagaham is Cree-Dene from the Little Red River Cree Nation and is currently a music therapist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. She has been a district consultant and a K-6 elementary music educator for over two decades integrating First Nations content. Sherryl co-founded the 2006 Juno-nominated Indigenous women’s trio, Asani and composes and arranges traditional-based, original songs and choral repertoire for children, youth and adult choirs in the Cree language. She continues to create Indigenous teacher resources, including for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program.

Antía González Ben

Antía González Ben is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Her work explores contemporary music education discourses as they relate to notions of equity and justice. Prior to her appointment, she worked as a public-school teacher in Madison, Wisconsin. She was born in Galicia, Spain, where she grew up making music within the Galician folk and Western art music traditions.

Darren Hamilton

Darren Hamilton is a secondary music educator at the Peel District School Board. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Toronto with research interests in formal gospel music education and equity, diversity, and social justice in music education. Darren is the founding director of the University of Toronto credit Gospel Choir course and when not teaching, he is an active workshop clinician and choral director.

Nicole Schutz

Nicole Schutz is Métis from Prince Albert Saskatchewan and has been a music specialist for 19 years with the Edmonton Public School District. Nicole holds a Level III Orff certification from Carl Orff Canada and a certificate in World Music Pedagogy from the Smithsonian Institute. Nicole is co-author of Nitohta, the Indigenous music teacher’s guide for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program. She presents on topics of World and Indigenous music nationally.


Looking for More?

MusiCounts Learn holds national conversations on topics that matter to music educators. Tune in to past Town Hall events and engage with the community of music educators across the country.

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KANATA: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music

Download Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music, a free learning resource that will support teachers in bringing Indigenous voices, perspectives, and music into classrooms, authored by Town Hall panelist Sherryl Sewepagaham.

This Town Hall was Presented by