Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access in Music Education Resources

I Am You Are We Are NAfME

During her time as NAfME President (2020–2022), Dr. Mackie V. Spradley was instrumental in moving the association forward in establishing intentional changes and a new standing Equity Committee. On this page you will see the results of bylaw amendments approved by the membership and the work that advanced as a result of those new bylaws. Also available are position statements, legislative work, webinars, academic journal articles, blog posts, and more to help answer your questions and guide your decisions as a music educator.

NAfME Resources for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access in Music Education

May 1, 2022 — NAfME members voted on proposed equity bylaw amendments: The amendments to the bylaws were passed (approved) by the membership. The bylaw amendments will:

  • Make the NAfME Equity Committee a Standing Committee of the Association (it was previously Ad hoc).
  • Add two Equity Committee appointments to the National Executive Board (NEB), via a nomination process.
  • Include all Division Presidents-Elect as full voting members of the NEB.

Hear a statement from NAfME President Mackie V. Spradley on behalf of the NEB on the April 2022 vote on the equity bylaw amendments.

The amendments to the bylaws take effect immediately. The first meeting of the newly appointed NAfME Equity Committee will take place in May. Nominations to the National Executive Board will then be brought forth from the Equity Committee during the upcoming May NEB meeting, with terms of service beginning one week prior to the date of the National Assembly meeting following their appointment (June 2022). The appointed members of the 2022-2024 NAfME Equity Committee are:

  • Mackie V. Spradley, Chair
  • Joseph Abramo
  • Cecil Adderley
  • Angelica Brooks
  • Jared Cassedy
  • Armalyn De La O
  • Roque Diaz
  • William Earvin
  • Laurie Fellenz 
  • Kendra Kay Friar 
  • Johnathan Hamiel
  • Alice Hammel
  • Lenora Helm Hammonds
  • Amy Martinson
  • Karen Salvador
  • Aida Soria
  • Russ Sperling

A Conversation Series on Actualizing Equity in Music Education

In 2021, then-NAfME President Mackie V. Spradley led discussions among music educators about actualizing equity in music education. View her statement about this process.

Celebrate Juneteenth! Celebrate the new law establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day, and view: The Significance of Juneteenth. View the recorded conversation, posted June 19, 2021.

● Actualizing Equity in Music Education (Pre-Symposium) – The NAfME Equity Committee and equity groups within each state Music Education Association continue to make intentional efforts to identify systems, policies, and practices that create barriers to equity in music education. On June 12, 2021, we held part one of a series that will focus on establishing a shared understanding of equity, learning how to facilitate difficult conversations centered on race, examining discourse through the lens of equity, implementing assessment protocols to identify blindspots, and creating a repository of resources that can support the ongoing work.

● Eradicating Systemic Racism in Music Education – StopAsianHate – On June 7, 2021 Asian American and Pacific Islander music leaders continued the conversation on systemic racism in music education. The discussion centered on the power of discourse to impact our lived experiences, thoughts, actions, and ways we show up in the world. 

Over the 2020-2021 school year, NAfME members participated in a series of virtual Town Hall meetings about the next NAfME Strategic Plan, with a focus on the question: “What can we do to eradicate systemic racism and center equity?” 

NAfME Resources for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access in Music Education

  • Ideas from NAfME Members: Music in a Minuet Blog offers professional development through DEIA-focused blog posts by NAfME members.


  • NAfME Public Policy

The Civil Rights Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have worked in tandem in, first, supporting desegregation, and, today, to ensure that students who are traditionally underserved receive a quality education. The latest iteration of ESEA, the Every Students Succeeds Act, passed in 2015, calls for a well-rounded education, which includes music, for all students.  Title IV-A of ESSA, acknowledges that students can be discriminated against when trying to gain access to enriching subjects, including music. Advocating for music education for all students is a civil rights issue. NAfME, along with its members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable, have endorsed policies that will help achieve the goal of all students having access to a music education. 

Reach out to your member of Congress Grassroots Action Center on issues of equity and access for music education.  

Peer-Reviewed Articles from NAfME Journals

Music Educators Journal (free to members; login required)

  • Forthcoming September 2020 issue includes a special focus on Policy in Music Education and how it can lead to greater inclusion/access for all. Available online by September 10.
  • June 2020 “Music Education, Curriculum Design, and Assessment: Imagining a More Equitable Approach,” Jennifer Mellizo states that conventional curricula may place some students at a disadvantage in school music classrooms and offers five steps toward equality.
  • June 2020 “Sharing Global Musics: El Sistema Sweden Summer Camp” by Tricia Tunstall describes a Swedish summer music camp in which all students are welcome and spontaneity fosters inclusion.
  • June 2020, “Factors that Affect Participation in Secondary School Music: Reducing Barriers and Increasing Access by Mara E. Culp and Matthew Clauhs looks at practices that promote increased access to and participation in high-school music.
  • June 2020 “Equity in Music Education: Making a Space for Everyone” by Mallory Alekna and Soyeon Kang describes an experiment in creative placemaking and music-making at Arizona State University.
  • March 2020 “Equity in Music Education: Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Appreciation and Understanding the Difference” by Karen Howard
  • March 2019,“Teaching about the Korean Ganggangsullae Folk Tradition in General Music Class,” Gina J. Yi examines practices in Korea and offers students and teachers get a glimpse of Korean culture.
  • March 2019,Equity in Music Education: The Music We Speak: Language and Power in the Urban Music Classroom” by Judy Lewis.
  • September 2019 issue is a special focus on Popular Music in Music Education and includes articles on diversifying what we teach and who we reach via popular music in the classroom.
  • December 2018, “Music Education to Train Hearing Abilities in Children with Cochlear Implants” by James L. Reifinger Jr.
  • December 2018, “Sharing Global Musics: An Introduction to the Music of China” by John L. Whitener and Feigun Shu
  • December 2018, “Equity in Music Education: Back to Class: Music Education and Poverty” by Vincent C. Bates.

Journal of Music Teacher Education (free to members, login required)

  • June 2020, “‘Anything is Better than Nothing!’ Inservice Teacher Preparation for Teaching Students with Disabilities” by Rachel Grimsby.
  • June 2019, “A Cultural Immersion Field Experience: Examining Preservice Music Teachers’ Beliefs About Cultural Differences in the Music Classroom” by Andrea J. VanDeusen.
  • June 2019, “Considering Antiracism in Student Teacher Placement” by Matthew C. Fiorentino.

Journal of Research in Music Education (free to members; login required)

  • April 2020, “Predictors of Taking Elective Music Courses in Middle School Among Low-SES, Ethnically Diverse Students in Miami” by Alenamie Alegrado and Adam Winsler.
  • October 2019, “Who Enrolls in High School Music? A National Profile of U.S. Students, 2009–2013, Kenneth Elpus and Carlos Abril.
  • April 2019, “Selected Nonmusic Predictors of Urban Students’ Decisions to Enroll and Persist in Middle and High School Music Ensemble Electives” by Daryl W. Kinney.
  • July 2019, “Features of University Environments That Support Well-Being as Perceived by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Undergraduate Music and Art Students, Nicholas E. Roseth.

Teaching Music (not peer-reviewed, but available to all NAfME members with login.)

More Resources:

Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Curriculum Units includes general music units focused on social justice; choral units focused on folk/popular music, spiritual; band and orchestra units focused on student engagement and issues of diversity. Available free to all.

HBCU Schools Offering Music Programs – Search programs by state or geographic region. Once you click on a given institution, you can see all of the undergraduate programs offered, including if the music programs include music teacher education.

NAfME Academy includes an entire section on “Inclusion in the Music Classroom” and other webinars. 

Webinar Resources: