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Gospel Music Pedagogies for the Classroom


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Gospel Music Pedagogies for the Classroom

Despite limited training with cross-cultural musical styles, performing ensemble directors often select a range of musical genres and styles to assure comprehensiveness in their music programs, even when those genres are beyond their own cultural heritages and experiences. Gospel music, as one example, has become a curriculum staple in many choral programs and the genre’s popularity makes it appealing to study and perform. Amid this appeal, however, is the need for culturally-valid pedagogical strategies that’s often missing from course offerings in music teachers’ training. This course is aims to be educative, participatory, and fun, and designed to provide music teachers with the cultural knowledge, musical skills, and dispositions required for teaching gospel music in today’s classrooms. No previous experience or religious affiliation necessary.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate philosophical, historical, and musical rationales for including gospel music as a part of a comprehensive music program. 

  • Review laws governing the use of religion in teaching and to distinguish between pedagogical strategies for "teaching about religion" versus "teaching for religion." 

  • Critically review and analyze resources for teaching gospel music and hone skills for determining "quality" in available gospel music octavos. 

  • Teach a variety of gospel music styles with cultural knowledge and culturally-valid pedagogies.


Instructor: Dr. Jason Thompson

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOSAAAAJDlmZjEwZWFjLWI3MWQtNGJlNy05MjFlLTJhMGFhYzk4Y2UwYwDr. Jason Thompson earned his Ph.D. in music education from Northwestern University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, Dr. Thompson teaches courses that explore sociocultural issues in music education, socially engaged practice in the arts, and arts in urban contexts. Additionally, Dr. Thompson serves as an affiliate professor at the School of Social Transformation, and an affiliate faculty member with the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at ASU. He also serves as chair for the Western Division of the Society of Music Teacher Education and the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives for the Arizona State Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. Thompson's research explores the ways in which culture influences and mediates music instruction and how music teachers develop the competencies needed for working in diverse teaching environments. His research has been published in professional journals including Music Education Research and Music Educators Journal, and has been presented at national and international conferences in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. His most current research, grant-funded by the National Association for Music Education and the Society of Research in Music Education, explores the community capacity and community cultural wealth that 13-18 year olds in the Greater Phoenix area use to "do" music in school music programs, in community music programs, and outside of both school and community contexts.

Course Details

Instructor: Dr. Jason Thompson
3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,020, due in full at registration 
Course Code: 6849
Dates: July 22-26, 2019
Location: VanderCook, room TBD

Required text(s):
VanderCook will provide all text(s).

VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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