FAME Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


As members of the Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME), we believe music is for everyone. We aim to grow a tuneful, beatful, artful community of individuals who can join together through singing, dancing, and responding expressively to music.

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion and supporting teachers in doing the same is part of our core mission. We are also committed to identifying and removing barriers in order to create access for members of our learning community by:

  • Providing scholarships for members of marginalized populations to attend certification courses and biennial FAME conferences;
  • Offering accessible resources to members and non-members;
  • Recruiting and compensating presenters of different cultural backgrounds for biennial conferences and webinars;
  • Soliciting resource contributions from our membership community;
  • Producing and promoting content aligned with our core mission and purpose; and,
  • Expanding our outreach to the community by hearing “voices of the membership” through active engagement in a variety of ways including a submission process for sharing content and instructional practices. 

As a part of our recent growth in learning as an organization, we determined it is necessary to provide our members clarity in language aligned with our core mission, values, and beliefs. Therefore at FAME, inclusion means we welcome, recognize and respect the different needs and gifts each person brings to our community. In working toward equitywe are actively removing barriers that exist for the members we serve and the students they represent. We recognize that the needs of our members are unique to their identity as well as the teaching and learning environment in the communities they work to enrich. We aim to provide experiences where we learn from each other, celebrate the music of the world, and gain a better understanding of various cultures and perspectives which help us grow as people.

As a board, we recognize our growth is essential to serve our members. As a result of our ongoing professional learning we have identified the following areas to shape our path forward:

  • Continuing to partner with GIA Publications to review and address problematic content expeditiously;
  • Building capacity of current and future boards in prioritizing the wide-range of human differences;
  • Pursuing, recruiting, and retaining diversity in our membership;
  • Acknowledging the need to evolve for sustainability while giving ourselves permission to engage and grow as teachers and learners;
  • Seeking more diverse musical content to authentically represent the many cultures within the world of music and our membership;
  • Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion with authenticity and efficacy; and,
  • Identifying and removing existing barriers, and creating pathways where all are welcome.Our commitment to the FAME community continues to be operationalized through our growth both individually and as a board. We will continue to learn, grow, and evolve to meet the needs of the membership as well as the students whose lives we touch. Through our deeper understanding of each other, our commitment to continuous improvement, community engagement, and increased membership participation we can work towards our common goal of building a tuneful, beatful, and artful community of teachers and learners.

Approved 7/11/22 by the Feierabend Association for Music Education Board of Directors

Original Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee Recommendations

Established 2019/ Recommendations Revised 2021 by FAME Board of Directors

It is our sincere belief that children and music educators deserve only the very best materials. When new information about the racist histories and context of some of the folk songs in the First Steps curriculum was brought to our attention, the Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME) in collaboration with GIA Music, formed a committee to develop a set of standards for determining whether repertoire may be used with young children without being harmful, derogatory, or disrespectful. The full text of the committee’s recommendations is available to download here. The recommendations were accepted into practice by the FAME Board of Directors in 2019.

DEI Committee Members: Emily Maurek, Chair of FAME DEI Committee. President-Elect of FAME. Elementary general music teacher based in Indiana. Loneka Battiste, Assistant Professor of Music Education, University of Tennessee. Fulbright Scholar (currently in Brazil). Co-Chair of the Education Section for the Society of Ethnomusicology. Member of the Advisory Council for Diversity and Inclusion for the College Music Society. Uzee Brown, Chair of the Division of Creative and Performing Arts, Morehouse College. Professor and Member of the Board of Trustees, Morehouse College. President of the National Association of Negro Musicians. Researcher. Author. Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology and Education), University of Washington, Affiliate and Board member, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and the Association of Cultural Equity (Lomax archives); Author of books for Oxford University Press and Routledge. Manju Durairaj, Orff-Certified Music Teacher. Adjunct Professor, VanderCook University. Past-President of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter. Teaches general music in Chicago. Past member of the Diversity Subcommittee of the National American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Author. Betsy Greene, Past-President of FAME. FAME Teacher Trainer. Kodály and Orff Certified. K–5 general music teacher in Vermont. Rachel Grimsby, FAME Teacher Trainer. PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan. Kodály and Orff Certified. Research interests include music cognition and language acquisition in students with special needs. Karen Howard, Associate Professor of Music, University of St. Thomas. Author. Presenter. Owen Hughes, FAME Certified. Kodály Certified. FAME Member-at-Large. K–5 general music teacher and chorus director in New York. Cynthia Romo, FAME Certified. Spanish Inclusion School Teacher based in Los Angeles. William Russell, FAME and Kodály Certified. Teaches K–5 general music and band in New York City. Natasha Verhulst, Music educator based in Wisconsin. Native American/American Indian Music Presenter.

Song Supplements and Feedback

Conversational Solfege DEIA Supplement [Sept. 2021] 

The FAME Board of Directors and GIA Music are dedicated to continuing the DEIA review of materials. In August of 2021, the FAME board voted to begin the next phase of review in collaboration with GIA.  A committee will be formed in the Fall of 2021 to begin review of the Conversational Solfege curricular content to provide assessment and recommendations in a similar manner to the recent First Steps in Music review.  While a revision of this nature will take several months to complete, this document, Conversational Solfege Supplement (13Sep2021) lists the songs that will be removed from the curriculum in future printings. We are providing this information now so that teachers may make informed decisions about the repertoire they use with their students. Fortunately, the majority of songs in the curriculum will remain, giving teachers plenty of musically rich and pedagogically appropriate songs from which to choose for each unit. We further recognize that our understanding of folk repertoire is constantly evolving, and we continue to research the histories and contexts of these songs to determine their appropriateness for inclusion in the curriculum. The contents of this document are subject to change as we learn more, and we will provide updates as necessary. 

First Steps in Music DEIA Supplement 2020

Guided by the committee’s recommendations, GIA Publications revised the curriculum. The revised resources are available at www.giamusic.com/firststepsrevision. We removed any material that was deemed to be harmful, derogatory, or disrespectful, and we also added a number of new songs and rhymes from a variety of world cultures. The link below details the specific revisions that were made to each component of the First Steps in Music curriculum, including the curriculum book and the supplemental folk song collections. Click here to download the 2020 Supplement to First Steps in Music.

Feedback on Songs or Rhymes

Scholars and educators are encouraged to provide relevant feedback about any song or rhyme in the curriculum. CLICK HERE to access the feedback submission form at the bottom of the the GIA DEI webpage. Please fill out your name, email address, the title of the song or rhyme, and any comment, question, or information you wish to provide.