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Open Access Thesis

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Master of Music (M.M.)

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As a graduate student in a university music department, I have devoted a lot of time to working in associated yet also disparate realms: as a performer, a Teacher's Assistant, and a student. During this time, I have also begun conducting research examining the music department’s social culture. I have observed my colleagues– meaning my fellow graduate students–sacrificing their mental health, physical health, and emotional wellbeing in order to meet ambiguous expectations that I will argue are often rooted in the coloniality of Western Art Music. I have observed and experienced conversations that neglect to acknowledge the ways in which speech and behavioral patterns that currently transpire in the music building support the perpetuation of anti-Blackness, situational color- and cultural- blindness, and white supremacy within the music department at this school, which I have chosen to anonymize as “New England State University (NESU).” Like the bourgeoise in Downtown Crossing, the members of this music department tend to outright ignore the systemic and social inequities that exist in this space, instead consciously or unconsciously choosing to operate with blinders that protect them from fully realizing “the frightening things about…” this music department’s “sense of reality.” Despite some well-meaning but largely superficial acknowledgments of the aforementioned issues, many members of this music department still engage in speech and behavioral patterns—both in public and in private—that I argue do not pursue a path toward these same people’s stated goals of racial justice and musician health and well-being.


First Advisor

Marianna Ritchey

Second Advisor

Olabode Omojola

Available for download on Sunday, May 26, 2024

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