DEIA Monthly Bites

Enjoy these DEIA conversations as a way to open up important conversations about accessibility and inclusion in the music classroom.



Click on the Episode number to access the video link.


Episode 1 Important Conversations about Accessibility and Inclusion in the Music Classroom
Episode 2 Recognizing Stereotypes in the Music We Teach
Episode 3 Practical Application for Having Conversations within a Musical Context
Episode 4.  Extending Cultural Heritage Celebrations Across the Entire School Year
Episode 5 Being Brave and Vulnerable



Meet the Creators of the DEIA Bite of the Month project

Jason Alexander Holmes, Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Boychoir, is a music educator and performer from Ridgeway, VA. Before coming to Cincinnati, Jason worked with the Boston Children’s Chorus, public schools in Rochester, NY, and community and professional opera and musical theatre companies. At the core of Jason’s teaching and performing is the belief that we are all expressive and musical beings who deserve to witness and create moments of truth and beauty. Jason is energized and excited about joining the FAME DEIA committee. We will work together to discover how we can move towards equitable access and inclusion for diverse groups of people. This requires recognizing the role of and then denouncing the furthering of white supremacy, classism, and ableism in our work with colleagues and young people. I am happy to discuss this work with members of the FAME community.


Joya Barnett has taught elementary music for three years in a small, military town in North Carolina. She is living her dream as her calling and career collide! Joya loves being able to impact the lives of those she teaches in ways many of them would not experience outside of the music classroom. To express love for those she teaches, using the vehicle of music, is her goal. Joya came across a First Steps in Music training two months before her first-year teaching. The training eliminated so many first-year jitters, as well as lots of the inevitable mistakes of a beginning music teacher. Joya will forever sing the praises of this curriculum and is honored to have the opportunity to help make it more socially just, less euro-centric, and more culturally responsible. Her students love the program itself and she cannot imagine how much more engaged they will be as this curriculum continues to evolve! In a time where our country seems more divided than ever, it thrills Joya that the Feierabend Association of Music Educators is wanting to build a bridge of diversity within its curriculums. For such a time as this, Joya wishes to encourage this community to better ourselves, as music educators and human beings.


Natasha Verhulst is an enrolled tribal member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a descendant of the Menominee Nation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education with triple certification from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin in 2015, and is currently working towards her master’s degree in Music Education with emphasis in Kodaly previously at Holy Family College and plans to finish the program at Lakeland University. Natasha has taught 9th-12th grade band and choir at Menasha High School in Menasha, WI and 5th-8th grade choir, band, and general music at Kiel Middle School in Kiel, WI. She is currently teaching 4K-5th grade general music at Keshena Primary School in Menominee Indian School District on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. 

Natasha’s career goal is to help bring native music and culture to the music classroom setting for children to experience and learn from. Natasha recently worked with PBS on their project “ReSound: Songs of Wisconsin,” creating a diverse curriculum of different cultural music for educators throughout the state. She presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association State conference in October 2019. Recently, Natasha was a part of the 2020 WSMA Summer Workshop series, where she taught a session to music educators on how to include Native American music in regular music lessons. The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is featuring Natasha’s lesson plans on their website so that educators throughout the country may use them in their classrooms. Natasha enjoys spending time with her husband and relatives, performing, crocheting, and beading in her spare time.

Lindsay Jackson has taught general music and choir since 2005. She holds a B.M.Ed. from Westminster Choir College and a M.M.Ed from the Hartt School. Lindsay is a FAME endorsed Teacher Trainer in both First Steps and Conversational Solfege. In addition to teaching children and training teachers, Lindsay is a founding member of the Feierabend Association of Music Education and most recently served on the FAME board as Member at Large. Lindsay is featured in the DVD “First Steps in Music for Kindergarten and First Grade: In Action” and is a contributing author in Feierabend Fundamentals both by GIA Publications. Lindsay is honored to be a part of the FAME DEIA committee and looks forward to amplifying the voices and musics of marginalized people in order to make our classrooms more equitable and inclusive for all students and educators.


Dr. Rachel Grimsby is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Illinois State University. Rachel has over fifteen years of experience teaching elementary general music. Her research interests include the professional development and collaborative needs of inservice teachers and paraprofessionals, course work for undergraduates and graduate students in teaching music to students with disabilities, and music and language acquisition in students with language delays. Rachel is the co-author of two publications; First Steps in Music with Orff Schulwerk, and Feierabend Fundamentals: History, Philosophy, and Practice, and also has been published in the Orff Echo and the Journal of Music Teacher Education. Rachel is fully certified in Feierabend, Kodály, Orff, and holds GIML Elementary I and II certificates. She also is a teacher trainer for both First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege Level 1 and 2. Rachel is a member of AERA, AOSA, GIML, OAKE, NAfME, ECMMA and is a founding member of FAME. Rachel is honored to be a part of the FAME DEIA committee. She hopes to continue to evolve a pedagogy she loves through working with other committee members to amplify the musics of marginalized peoples. By questioning the white, Eurocentric norms of music education we can develop a space that is more equitable and inclusive. She lives with her husband and two children in Bloomington, Illinois.