Molly Reid


Many scholars have called for North American music theory curricula to include music beyond the western classical canon. First, I show the benefit of situating such discussions within the “decolonial option” (Mignolo 2011). Then, I offer decolonial pedagogical techniques for integrating nonwestern music into the theory classroom. Drawing on Mohanty (2003) and Hess (2015), I explore three curricular models in which “Other” subject material is engaged. I then adapt the models to the music theory classroom, showing three vignettes centering around music for the Chinese guzheng. Decolonial pedagogy aligns most with the Comparative Musics Model in which all musics are understood relationally. The other two models are more tokenistic, yet easier to implement. I conclude by offering decolonial pedagogical strategies derived from the Comparative Musics Model and from recent anti-oppression music scholarship (Attas 2019, Chavannes and Ryan 2018/2022, Hisama 2018, Kim 2021, Lumsden 2018, Reed 2021) that can guide ethical and nonviolent musical engagement in music theory classrooms.