When I saw that there was an opportunity to join the WAM research group I was immediately interested. This project is important to me not only because I am a female musician but also because of my role as a music educator.
A majority of most people’s (and my own) formal music education is focused on the achievement of white males and western classical music; however, that is only a small percentage of the music occurring in our world. One part of music history that is often overlooked in our education is women’s contributions to music history and important role in the development of the music we know today. Some things that I believe in and strive to achieve in my own teaching practices is representing diverse musical practices from around the world, educating my students on a large variety of music, and providing students with relatable role models. Many great and important works are practically unknown because they were written by a woman rather than a man. I want to bridge this gap in my own classroom and ensure that I am doing my part in providing students with a more diverse and representative knowledge of music and its history.
Working on this project has made me aware of how many women were acting “behind the scenes,” throughout music history and have been unrecognized for their contributions. This has inspired me to continue working on this project and try to raise a greater awareness for and recognize the present-day women who are contributing to music through composition, performance, and more. It is important to me that today women are being provided the same opportunities in the musical world that men are. I hope that our project helps to spread a greater awareness of this issue.
Emily McGovern is a senior Bachelor of Music student at the Mason Gross School of the Arts studying Music Education.