Oxford Music Profs Claim Western Sheet Music Has ‘Complicity to White Supremacy’
University of Oxford academics have complained that “Teaching notation which has not ‘shaken off its connection to its colonial past’ would be a ‘slap in the face’ for some students”, as it has “complicity in white supremacy”.
In response to widespread Black Lives Matter protesters and riots last year in the United Kingdom, music educators at Oxford University have proposed changing the way music notation is taught because it is a “colonialist representational system”, with professors seeking to focus less on white European heritage and culture
The woke educators went on to claim that musical notation itself is a “colonialist representational system” that has “complicity to white supremacy".
The Oxford academics went on to pronounce that teaching the piano or conducting orchestras could cause “students of colour great distress” as the skills involved are closely tied to “white European music”.
Professors at the university said that the classical music which is taught at Oxford, which includes Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, among others, is too focused on “white European music from the slave period”.
The assertion is somewhat dubious, as Western classical music, as well as the practice of sheet music notation, predates the Atlantic slave trade, stemming back to musical traditions from the medieval period such as Gregorian chanting.
In response to student demands “arising from international Black Lives Matter demonstrations,” the Oxford faculty is also considering placing a heavier emphasis on “non-Eurocentric” musical traditions such as Hip-Hop and Jazz, as well as “African and African Diasporic Musics” and “Global Musics”.
The curriculum could also place more importance on pop music and culture, with suggested topics including “Artists Demanding Trump Stop Using Their Songs” at campaign rallies and “Dua Lipa’s Record-Breaking Livestream”.
The proposals come amid a wider push throughout British academia to “decolonise the curriculum” in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.