In a Weekend Edition report, Solvejg Wastvedt from Minnesota Public Radio speaks with students and directors at Spring Lake Park High, outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, about the school’s unique approach to programming. They “have pledged to include at least one piece by a female composer and one by a composer of color in each concert, for each of the school’s bands” and “to only buy music from composers of color.”
This has been a challenge, not because the music doesn’t exist but because it may fall outside traditional sources.
“It’s really hard to find music because there’s just not a lot of composers of color that are being published,” [band teacher Brian] Lukkasson explains.
Composers of color and women are shut out of the canon, and often stereotyped, so Lukkasson usually has to network with his colleagues to find their music.
Breaking down that stereotyping is helping a more diverse body of students feel a sense of belonging in the school’s music program.