UI music education faculty sends e-mail regarding The “Next Dance”

In an e-mail obtained by The Daily Illini, the University Music Education Faculty expressed concern for those who participated in the “Next Dance” event. Here is the text of the e-mail sent out.

Dear Music Education Major:

As a faculty we want to indicate our support for any student who chose not to participate in the “Next Dance.” We also affirm the position that the decision to participate should be left up to each student individually.

However, we view this event and activities like it as inappropriate for anyone intending to serve as a music educator. Music education, as a profession, is in the midst of a critical examination of the ways it has actively or complicity allowed for the erasure or marginalization of minority people and musics. In fact, most of us have just returned from the conference “Race, Erasure, and Equity in Music Education,” sponsored by the Consortium for Research on Equity in Music Education.

Although the “Next Dance” has already occurred, we still feel particularly compelled (1) to voice our extreme disappointment with the event, (2) to ask that you consider what participation says about you as a future music educator and the extent to which this conflicts with your profession’s commitment to respect all people and (3) to invite discussion as to how you and we, the faculty, might instill pride in our university and its athletic teams in ways that honor the musical and cultural lives of all people.

We know the contextual issues surrounding this event have been discussed in many of your courses in music education. However, the faculty didn’t want to let the recent event pass without noting that, regardless of whether you participated in Saturday evening’s event or not, you weighed in on an issue important to your profession. Please take a moment to consider this recent, “real-world” instance of how personal values and actions and professional obligations intersect. There will be many more in your career.

Sincerely,

the Music Education Faculty (Louis Bergonzi, Greg DeNardo, Karin Hendricks, Allen Legutki, Bridget Sweet, Matthew Thibeault)