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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Contemporary Instrumentalists of Color to Share with Students

As I continue to explore ways to better reflect minoritized people in my music classroom, I have become more conscious of the examples I show students in class on everyday topics, whether it's teaching students about a genre, an instrument, or a musical element or concept. I've recently discovered several new-to-me instrumentalists that I've enjoyed sharing with my students, so today I wanted to put together a list of contemporary instrumentalists of color. These are all musicians who are currently active- some names will be familiar, some are more obscure, but I think they are all excellent musicians to feature in class!


With any list like this there are, of course, plenty more musicians out there that I could include! I hope this list is just the beginning of discovering other artists that you may not have come across before to incorporate into your lessons. And if you have particular musicians you love, please share their names in the comments below so we can all add them to our lists as well!

I should also note that this list is limited to Western classical instruments, in the hopes of providing music teachers with some alternatives to easily incorporate into current lessons we already teach on instruments of the orchestra. In reality there are so many more instruments out there in the music world that we can and should be featuring- here are the resources I use to teach about other instruments around the world. I don't treat them as separate categories of "specialized" instruments, but this list would be too long if I included them all in one post!

flute- Rachel Ombredane


clarinet- Anthony McGill


saxophone- Kamasi Washington


trombone- Trombone Shorty


trumpet- Wynton Marsalis


tuba- Kenneth Amis


french horn- Zeng Yun


violin- Black Violin


viola- Jeremy Green


cello- Yo-Yo Ma


double bass- Esperanza Spalding


piano- Jon Batiste


harp- Naoko Yoshino


percussion- Questlove


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