1st Edition

Assimilation v. Integration in Music Education Leading Change toward Greater Equity

By Christopher Jenkins Copyright 2024
    130 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Assimilation v. Integration in Music Education engages with an existential question for American conservatories and orchestras: What does it mean to diversify Western classical music? Many institutions have focused solely on diversifying the demography of their participants, but without a deeper conversation about structural oppression in classical music, this approach continues to isolate and exclude students of color. Rooted in the author’s experience working with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students at a major American conservatory, this book articulates the issues facing minority students in conservatories and schools of music, going beyond recruitment to address the cultural issues that alienate students. The author argues that the issue of diversity should be approached through the lens of aesthetics, and that the performance and pedagogy of Western classical music must change if a more diverse membership is to thrive in this genre.

    Reflecting on the author’s experience through the lens of recent critical theory in music education, this volume presents the viewpoints of Black and Latinx music students in their own words. Addressing the impact of racialized aesthetics on the well-being of BIPOC music students, the author shows how students are alienated when attempting to assimilate into conservatory environments and envisions an alternative, integrative approach to conservatory education. Offering a deep dive into the psychological and cultural reasons for the racialization of Western classical music, and potential institutional solutions, this concise book is relevant to performers, students, and institutional leaders.

    Series Foreword



    Chapter 1 - Assimilation in Conservatory Education

    Chapter 2 - Transforming the White Racial Frame

    Chapter 3 - Concrete Advice for Leadership and Staff

    Chapter 4 - Equity

    Chapter 5 – Interviews with Young Professionals



    Christopher Jenkins is Associate Dean for Academic Support at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he is Conservatory Liaison to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. He holds master’s degrees in viola performance and international affairs and public policy, and is completing a PhD in historical musicology from Case Western Reserve University, and a DMA in viola performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.