MBDA Supports Equity in Programming Music
MBDA supports band directors programming a wide variety of music in order to expose students to music, people, and cultures they might not otherwise come into contact with. In this vein, MBDA encourages band directors to regularly program music written by historically underrepresented groups of composers. A partial list of groups who have been underrepresented include composers from the following categories:
1. Gender: Female composers, Non-binary composers
2. Race: Composers of color, non-white composers, composers outside the USA and Europe
3. Ability: Composers with disabilities, neurodivergent
4. Sexuality: Composers who identify as LGBTQIA+
Guiding Questions for Selecting Music
Acknowledging that the majority of music performed by concert bands in the United States has been and continues to be music written by white men from America or Europe, some helpful guiding questions a band director can ask themselves when selecting music may include:
- What percentage of the music I am programming is written by men? What is the percentage of students who I am teaching who are female? If these percentages are far off from each other, how do I feel about that?
- What percentage of the music I am programming is written by a person of color? What is the racial make-up of the students I am teaching? If these percentages are far off from each other, how do I feel about that?
- What groups are not being represented in the music I am programming? When was the last time I programmed music from those underrepresented groups? How do I feel about this?
Resources for Finding Music from Underrepresented Groups
If you are feeling compelled to program more works by composers who are not white males, here are some resources to help you find the music you are looking for:
- Diverse Composers of Wind Band Music: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1i4mcvDo3j6P9MiXKDbgyZ6enIGPcDhY2NTG278ReOaI/edit#gid=0
- Music from Underrepresented Groups and Commission Opportunities: https://www.andwewereheard.org
- ColourFULL Music - Resources from Jodie Blackshaw: https://www.colourfullmusic.com
- Institute for Composer Diversity: https://www.composerdiversity.com
- Bandology Composer Spotlight: https://bandology.ca/composer-spotlights/
- Alex Shapiro’s Programming Resources Page: https://www.alexshapiro.org/ProgrammingResources.html