Diversity Equity And Inclusion In Music Education

“As music educators, aware of the intended and unintended messages students receive about themselves during these turbulent times, we must make concerted efforts to affirm our students’ identities and provide them with positive models that represent them.” Jacqueline C. Henninger and Andrea Sanchez wrote these words in a recent article in the Southwestern Musician. For many years, music educators have been concerned about diversity, equity, and inclusion in music education, but few know how to address it in the classroom or rehearsal hall. Join well-known clinicians from the US who will shed light on the topic and provide concrete ideas and materials to incorporate into your program.

  • Dates: July 18-20
  • Times: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM Daily
  • Noncredit Cost: $300
  • Graduate Credit: Additional $500.00 for 1 hour of graduate credit (Paid separately to SMU)
  • Housing: There is no on-campus housing available for this workshop. For a listing of local Dallas hotels near the SMU campus and out-of-state discounts, go to http://www.campustravel.com/university/smu/visit_smu.html

Register Here


DEI in Music Education Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand is the founding artistic director of The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers: An Ensemble of Exceptional Talents, and is director of choral activities, chair of the music department, and a full professor at Oakwood University, where he conducts the Aeolians of Oakwood University. He is a published author and composer with GIA Publications, featuring the book, Teaching with Heart: Tools for Addressing Societal Challenges Through Music, and The Jason Max Ferdinand Choral Series (Walton Music).

A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), his Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland. He attributes a lot of his success to the many influential people and experiences that helped shape him into who he is today.

In 2008, Ferdinand began his tenure at Oakwood University as director of choral activities as well as director of the Aeolians of Oakwood University. Under Dr. Ferdinand’s baton, the Aeolians of Oakwood University have graced stages the world over. Their repertoire of choral music, which ranges from the baroque era to the twenty-first century, has been sought after and performed at venues throughout the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Russia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hungary.

In February 2019, the Aeolians performed at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). The performance garnered a lot of attention and some even commented, “They broke the ACDA.” Ferdinand serves on the board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) and is a former board member of the Alabama American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator, and guest conductor in America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. He continues to actively compose and enjoys mentoring up-and coming composers.

Dr. Nicole R. Robinson Prior to founding Cultural Connections by Design, Dr. Nicole R. Robinson served as the Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT from 2013 to 2019. Before joining the faculty in 2013 as the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Presidential Endowed Professor, she served on the music education faculty at University of Memphis, Syracuse University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Robinson is nationally acclaimed as an educator, scholar, speaker, and author. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, published in several of the industry’s leading research journals, and co-authored two music education textbooks: Teaching Elementary Music: Integrating Music with Other Academic Subjects (2019, 3rd Edition) and General Music: A K-12 Experience (2021, 2nd Edition).

In 2018, Dr. Robinson launched CCBD, a diversity education consulting company. CCBD quickly became known for the creative, innovative, and "out of the box" processes used to teach complex topics in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Robinson's entrepreneurial journey started with two proprietary teaching tools – Matrix of Intersectionality card game and impact board game - she designed and developed to increase the cultural competency of her college students who would enter the teaching profession. Soon, her learning tools and her unique, innovative approach to diversity education created a demand for her work both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Robinson began her teaching career as an elementary and middle school music teacher in Durham Public Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools (NC). She earned a B.A. and M.M. in Music Education from North Carolina Central University and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The Florida State University. Dr. Robinson believes knowledge is power. And, power, when used responsibly, creates transformative change. This philosophy is apparent through every service CCBD offers to clients.

Dr. Loneka Wilkinson Battiste is Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Drawing on 12 years of experience teaching children in school and community settings, she now teaches elementary general and middle school choral methods and graduate courses in music education. As a former member of the Moses Hogan Chorale and the Moses Hogan Singers, she completed her dissertation entitled “ ‘Music Down in My Soul’: Achieving a Sound Ideal for Moses Hogan Spirituals” in 2014. She currently serves on the Council for the Tennessee Music Education Association as the Society for Music Teacher Education Representative and Research Chair. She has also served in various leadership positions in the Society for Ethnomusicology, including Co-Chair of the Education Section, Co-Chair of the Crossroads Section, and Co-Chair of the Gertrude Robinson Network of Scholars.

Loneka’s scholarly interests in music education include equity and inclusion, multicultural  education, and culturally responsive teaching. She frequently presents on the artistic style of Moses Hogan, African American music aesthetics, and various musics of the African diaspora. In 2019, she completed a Fulbright Fellowship at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil and studied coco, a musical tradition of the Brazilian northeast, in the Xambá community of Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil. While in Brazil, she gave lectures on African American musics and formed a gospel choir at UFPE. She also gave lectures on culturally responsive teaching at UFPE, Universidade Federal de Paraiba, and Artefatos da Cultura Negra in Ceará.

DEI in Music Education Workshop Presenters:

Lauren Knebel is currently in her ninth year of teaching at Schimelpfenig MS in Plano. In her years in Plano, she has led ensembles at UIL Concert & Sight Reading and festivals across DFW where her students have consistently earned Superior ratings. She also served Region XXIV’s MS/JH division as Vice-Chair and Vocal Chair from 2016-2020. She currently serves as the Fine Arts Department Head, and is a four time finalist for Teacher of the Year. She is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the state, and has presented at TMEA and TCDA.

Lauren Knebel received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Baylor University in 2012. She graduated cum laude, studied voice with Randall Umstead, and sang in choirs under the direction of Lynne Gackle and Alan Raines. She is in her sixth season as a member of the Dallas Symphony Chorus under the direction of Joshua Habermann.

Victor Lozada, Ph.D.  earned his doctoral degree in Reading Education with a focus on music education and bilingual education from Texas Woman's University. He has taught elementary general music for fourteen years, the past eight at Pecan Creek Elementary in Denton, TX, a two-way dual language campus. He has presented at the American Orff Schulwerk Association Professional Development Conference, the International Kodály Symposium, and numerous bi/multilingual educational conferences at the national and international level. His recently published co-edited book, Engage and Empower! Expanding the Curriculum for Justice and Activism, centers students’ lived experiences with school including through hip-hop. Find his publications in the Orff Echo, the Journal of General Music Education, and the Bilingual Research Journal. He currently serves on the Reverberations: Teachers Teaching Teachers editorial board and the Diversity Equity Inclusion Round Table for AOSA.

Amanda C. Soto, Ph. D. joined the Texas State University School of Music Faculty in Fall 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Music Education.   Her teaching career started as a middle school band director in South Texas.  She taught general music to children in kindergarten through sixth grade within the Seattle Public Schools.  Before coming to Texas State University, Soto served on the faculty of the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton School of Music.  She is currently co-instructor for the annual Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy that is held at the University of Washington in Seattle.  She serves as the music education member of the College Music Society Board of Directors, is co-chair of the Education Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and is co-chair of the Society for Music Teacher Education Cultural Diversity and Social Justice for Music Teacher Education ASPA of the Society for Teacher Music Education (STME).  She also serves as the Collegiate Chair of the Texas Music Educators Conference and is faculty advisor for the Texas State University Collegiate Texas Music Educators chapter.

Dr. Soto earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas, a Masters of Arts in Ethnomusicology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education from the University of Washington.  She has undertaken certification studies in Orff and Kodály pedagogical approaches and holds a certification in world music pedagogy from the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Soto’s ongoing research on world music pedagogy, children’s musical culture and identity, the use of technology in music education, social justice in music education, and Mexican and Mexican American’s music and culture has produced publications in journals in both music education and ethnomusicology.  She holds publications in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, College Music Symposium, Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education, Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education (3rd edition), Music in American Life, Readings in Ethnomusicology, and MUSIKE: International Journal of Ethnomusicology Studies of World Music and Dance Education.

Soto has presented clinical workshops and research presentations at conferences for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Texas Music Educators Association, the NAfME Northwest Division, the Washington and Idaho Music Educators Association, College of Music Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Asia-Pacific Symposium on Music Education Research, the international conference on Cultural Diversity in Music Education, and the International Society for Music Education. Her undergraduate classroom responsibilities include teaching the elementary methods classes, and supervising student teachers. Dr. Soto also teaches a variety of graduate level courses and independent study topics that will serve the interests of individual students.


For further information about SMU Music Educators Workshops, or to register for one of these classes, visit admission.smu.edu/portal/musicworkshops; or contact Directors Julie Scott, Lisa Beyer, and Courtney Wilson at muedworkshops@smu.edu.