Social Justice Music Composition Resources

Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. This guide was designed to support teachers through the personal learning, pre-planning, and lesson delivery that will set the context for the CASMEC Social Justice Unit.  These resources are designed to be used in conjunction with the programing of one of the two Social Justice Consortium Pieces premiered at CASEMC in 2022. When Heaven Cries -Katahj Copely (Grade 3) and Requiem for the Unarmed – Kevin Day (Grade 4) CBDA has compiled these resources to be used, but did not create them, and has no rights to the information provided in them. 


Pre-Work For Teachers:

  • Teachers, It’s Necessary to Talk About Race Article
    • Why are we engaging in these conversations in our classroom and what impact can this have for our classroom community? 
  • Are You Prepared to Talk About Race? Article with resource links
    • Starting with self. Am I prepared to facilitate these conversations? Which resources should I plug into to fill in my own learning before turning to teaching? 
  • Facilitating Critical Conversations with Students Resource Guide
    • What norms and expectations need to be set in advance so we can all engage in respectful conversations?
  • Active Listening Article
    • What is active listening and how might we practice active listening before we get to these “hot topics”? 
  • Setting Your Classroom Culture Learning Plan
    • How can I design my classroom as an inclusive space for all students?
  • Designing Classroom Rituals Guide 
    • How can we ritualize the beginning and end of our class so students feel safe, seen, and supported, especially as we tackle “hot topics”?


Identity Lesson Plans:

After classroom norms, routines, and rituals are set and active listening has been practiced, these lessons offer an entry point to begin talking about race by asking students to reflect on their own identity. 

Here is a partial list of band repertoire that can lead to in depth discussions about issues of social justice and equity:

Wind Band Compositions Informed by Social, Political, and/or Environmental Events

It is often stated that if you want to gain an understanding of the dynamics of a particular time and place in any given culture, you need only look at the arts. The will inform you of wartime, peace, tragedies, triumphs, who was in power. All of that information can be found in the arts. This includes all disciplines within the arts. If we also embrace the idea that art reflects life, then it is only natural that music serves as a perfect vehicle for artists to express social conditions.  Artists in practically every genre has used their skills to tell stories about some facet of life where music could better offer the expressions of a marginalized people. 

Here’s a short list of artists who have used their art to tell stories addressing some facet of social injustice. 

***Teachers please vet the music BEFORE playing it for your students regardless of the recommended level listed.***

Social Justice Songs: The Influences of Music 

If you have additional songs or compositions to add to our lists please fill out the following form