Teaching African American
Music History: Creating an Equitable & Responsible Curriculum

September 20–December 12, 2021

This course gives students the opportunity to study the music, history, artist, styles and cultural impact of African American Music from West Africa to Brooklyn through research, listening, discussion and creating. Though African American music history is a cornerstone of American music and history, many music teachers have a limited knowledge about how to incorporate Afro-centric pedagogy into their classrooms, leaving their curriculum unbalanced and inequitable. This class will survey and demonstrate the musical and cultural history, genres and artists that comprise the rich diaspora of Black music including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, rock, funk, soul, pop and hip hop.

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

  • Plan and incorporate effective and equitable curricula, units and lesson plans that are centered around various Afro-centric music styles and history
  • Recognize and discuss the defining characteristics of significant African American genres
  • Facilitate “safe and courageous” conversations about Black history and American history in your classrooms
  • Identify and teach the music and history of major Black genres and artist
  • Identify the differing philosophies and pedagogical practices of Eurocentric and Afro-centric music education
  • Write and create songs in various Afro-centric styles
  • Research the social, cultural and political movements that evolved, defined and/or arose out of the development of Black music.

Instructor: Marc Evan Diaz

MarcEvanDiaz_CoverMarc Evan Diaz is a motivated and passionate educator who empowers students of all ages to discover the strength of the voice and creativity. He has produced 16 international children’s albums (in partnership with Fiddlefox Music), and has taught urban populations professionally for over 10 years at the K-12 public school and collegiate levels. A graduate of Berklee College of Music (Cum Laude) with a double major in music education and performance, Diaz uses a mixture of traditional techniques and modern methods to teach such topics and classes as Songwriting and Production, African American Music and Social Justice...from Spirituals to Hiphop, and Music of the World: International Childrens Music. Through strategic curriculum, inspired teaching and project-based learning sequences, Diaz challenges students to discover and use their voice to intentionally produce social impact.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288