Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1

Conservatory of Music


Urban schools, and the students and teachers within, are often characterized by a metanarrative of deficit and crisis, causing the complex realities of urban education to remain unclear behind a wall of assumptions and stereotypes. Within music education, urban schools have received limited but increasing attention from researchers. However, voices from practitioners are often missing from this dialogue, and the extant scholarly dialogue has had a very limited effect on music teacher education. In this article, five music educators with a combined thirty years of experience in urban schools examine aspects of their experiences in the light of critical pedagogy in an attempt to disrupt the metanarrative of deficit, crisis, and decline that continues to surround urban music education. By promoting the lived-stories of successful urban music students, teachers, and programs, the authors hope to situate urban music education as a site of renewal, reform, and meaningful learning. This paper emerged from a panel discussion regarding promising practices in secondary general music with urban youth that took place at the New Directions in Music Education conference held at Michigan State University in October of 2011.