LGBT Alphabet Soup... An Open and Honest Discussion on the Topic for the Music Teacher
On March 10th, 2018, D.C.’s Different Drummers presented a panel in partnership with the Maryland Music Educators Association at their 2018 annual convention in Baltimore, Maryland. The panel regarded LGBTQ+ students in music education. D.C.’s Different Drummers panelists presented to over 30 Maryland music educators and described their positive and negative experiences growing up LGBT in their school bands and orchestras across the United States.
The panel “LGBT Alphabet Soup... An Open and Honest Discussion on the Topic for the Music Teacher” seeked to ensure Maryland music educators better understand issues specific to LGBT students, and how they can work to better facilitate and encourage their music education. Topics of focus included how music educators can identify LGBTQ+ student concerns, define terminology for LGBTQ+ students, and discuss strategies to approach this topic with a goal of ensuring a safe, respectful welcome space for music learning for all students. Music educators partook in this unique opportunity to engage with a group of now-adult former music students who matriculated through school bands and maintained an enthusiasm for marching, concert, and jazz ensemble participation.
The host and presenter, DCDD Capitol Pride Symphonic Band director Anthony Oakley, held an open space throughout the presentation for the audience to ask questions. Teachers and panelists engaged in open and honest discussions on hard questions such as "do I out my student to their parents if they're struggling?", "how do I know when to intervene to support a student?", "what pronouns should I use?", "how do I hold a bully-free space?". The audience listened as the panelists told their stories of being LGBTQ+ from primary school to college. As the panel ended past the allotted time there were still plenty of questions from the educators. It could have easily continued for an hour. With such a turnout and enthusiasm perhaps there will be more panels by DC's Different Drummers in the future.
Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA) is the professional association for the school music teachers of Maryland. MMEA is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit association incorporated in the State of Maryland. The mission of the Maryland Music Educators Association is to advance music education in Maryland schools.