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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Summer Reading List for Music Teachers

One of the best perks of summer break for teachers is having the time and energy to read, enjoy, and process books in a way that you just can't during the school year, and especially books that make us reflect on our teaching practice in a fresh way. It's much easier to think critically and objectively about our teaching when we're not in the thick of it! Today I want to share some books that I've read in the last few years that have challenged or validated me as an educator. If you're looking for a good book to read this summer, I hope you'll pick up one of these!

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This is a great book for diving into race issues in schools. If you haven't read it yet, I urge you to do so! It's definitely a lot of material and requires plenty of time for thought.

This is a much quicker read than the previous book I mentioned, but equally important and thought-provoking. If you're just dipping your toe into conversations about race as a white person, I would start with this one.

Another relatively-quick read that isn't too heavy but offers a lot of insight, inspiration, and motivation. And the added bonus for music teachers is the author's use of DJ's, MC's, and other musical elements as metaphors throughout the book!

If you are a general music teacher and you haven't read this book, this is a very helpful one! The great thing is there are chapters exploring each of many different general music pedagogical approaches/ frameworks, so you can pick and choose the ones in which you're most interested. As a long-time fan of Carlos Abril, one of the book's editors, the one chapter I will urge everyone to read is "Thinking About and Responding to Culture", which he co-authored with Jacqueline Kelly-McHale.

If you have any students with special needs (which I can't imagine any teacher who doesn't to some degree), this book is another must-read. Everything from general advice to specific strategies, and so practical. 

I've been involved with Restorative Practices for years now, including leading PD and designing systems for my building. If you're looking for a "behavior management" system that promotes social-emotional learning over punitive punishments, this is the one for you. If you've heard of Restorative Practices and want to dig into it a bit more, this book is great for that- it's not a long, heavy book but is full of information and ideas. 

What books are you reading this summer? Any favorite books you'd recommend for music teachers? I'd love to add some titles to my own wish list for this summer- share you favorites in the comments!


  1. Check out. Zaretta Hammond's Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. It is excellent!

    1. I've heard several recommendations of this and forgot about it. Thank you! Added to my list!