Why is My Classical Music Curriculum So White?

Decolonising the Classical Music Curriculum

I’m keen to develop an undergraduate/post-graduate module that showcases composers of colour , nothing against composers like Mozart, Beethoven etc. but there’s still a lot of emphasis on white men in this realm – granted very talented but there are other voices to highlight too!

I’m down to change things up (for myself at least). Creating my own music curriculum.

I mean, it’s the twenty-first century! I think it’s time we shared a wider range of stories about talented human beings  passionate about the performance and creation of classical music.

I would have loved to have learnt about classical composers (and musicians) hailing from different cultures when I was doing my A’levels, undergraduate and post-graduates degrees in music.

In fact, it was only when I did a research module at Master’s level that I decided to explore a mixed-race composer from Croydon who was championed by Elgar, prolific in output despite dying tragically young in his 30s; Samuel Coleridge Taylor.

Through the research project I tapped into a wonderful academic community of enthusiasts of his music and learnt how he tried earnestly to fuse an African aesthetic into classical composition.

Ideally, I’d love to teach a course in Higher Education on this. It would be a positive space to showcase the work of a broader section of classical compositionally talent. White people fear not, I’m not dissing you, taking away from you, just adding to the story. Yes, we are all one my dear human brothers and sisters, (no irony intended) but we aren’t sharing the cake fairly, I’m fed up of asking for crumbs, so I’m baking my own cake and dividing it up in a fairer way.