Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Statement

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.

2020 Supplement to First Steps in Music

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 Rhyme

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. 

Feierabend Repertoire Database by Chris Anne Powers

The Feierabend Repertoire Database, by Chris Anne Powers, is a curated collection of the newly revised First Steps in Music repertoire. Each song or rhyme has been thoroughly analyzed and classified using the following categories:

  • Title
  • Printed Source
  • Aural Source
  • Genres
  • Country/Language/Origin
  • Subject
  • Conversational Solfege Rhythm Unit (updated to reflect new Book 3 edition)
  • Time Signature
  • Conversational Solfege Tonal Unit (updated to reflect new Book 3 edition)
  • Scale
  • Tonal Center
  • Tone Set
  • Recommended Key
  • Additional Content Notes

Resources currently included in the Feierabend Repertoire Database are:

  • First Steps in Music for Preschool and Beyond
  • First Steps in Global Music
  • The Book of Pitch Exploration
  • The Book of Echo Songs
  • The Book of Call & Response
  • The Book of Children’s SongTales
  • The Book of Movement Exploration
  • The Book of Fingerplays & Action Songs
  • The Book of Beginning Circle Games
  • The Book of Songs & Rhymes with Beat Motions
  • CD: Had A Little Rooster
  • CD: Old Joe Clark
  • CD: There’s A Hole In The Bucket
  • CDs: Music For Creative Movement

Click here to download the database as an Excel file (this file is searchable). This file will be periodically updated as new information becomes available, so users may wish to occasionally return for updated versions of this file. Most recent version: October 27, 2020. It should be noted that at this time the Feierabend Repertoire Database is primarily an analysis of the musical content of the pieces contained therein. Note: This document does not include an historical analysis of each song or rhyme.

DEIA Bite of the Month episodes

The FAME Board of Directors formed an ad-hoc DEIA Committee who served during the fiscal year beginning July 2020. This committee provided significant contributions including the creation of the FAME DEIA Bite of the Month video episodes shared via the FAME “Feierabend Fundamentals” Facebook page.  Click HERE to access the episodes. Creators of the Bite of the Month episodes were Jason Alexander Holmes, Joya Barnett, Natasha Verhulst, Lindsay Jackson, and Rachel Grimsby.

FAME Virtual National Conference

In July 2021, the FAME Board of Directors and the FAME Virtual National Conference committee programmed a variety of culturally responsive focused sessions and invited Rev. Dr. Donna Cox to present the keynote address discussing the power of African American music, culture, and history to transform lives. Click HERE for a copy of the conference program book. Rev Dr. Cox’s full presentation is available below:

The Power of Song In A Strange Time. 

Using African American music, culture, and history as the backdrop, Rev. Dr. Donna Cox discussed the power of music to transform lives and situations. She suggests ways teachers might use examples from the discussion as building blocks for students to use their distinctive voices and contexts as agents of social justice.


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. 

FAME Professional Development Webinar

In September 2021, the FAME Board of Directors and the FAME membership committee presented the FAME community with a free webinar hosting Dr. Rachel Gibson who shared living traditions of music from Central America.

Living Traditions: Songs and Singing Games from Guatemala and Nicaragua with Dr. Rachel Gibson

 Come sing, play, move, create, and experience joy with living musical traditions from Central America. Participants will engage in repertoire that the presenter learned while living in Guatemala and Nicaragua. The music was collected from playgrounds, classrooms, and families, and represents diverse practices that span from traditional songs and singing games to contemporary children’s music that utilizes recorded media. The activities allow for musical play and movement, encourage lyrical improvisation, and foster community. The Spanish texts are accessible to learn and field videos will be shown to demonstrate the songs’ authentic contexts. ¡Ven a cantar y jugar! Come sing and play!


In October 2021, The First Steps in Music Instrumental Committee presents FAME Members with the inaugural commission by Quincy Hilliard. 

FAME Commission Project: First Steps in Instrumental Music – Arrangements for Beginning Band by Quincy Hilliard

The FSIM Instrumental Committee, chaired by Carol Swinchoski, is thrilled to announce the October 2021 premier First Steps Instrumental Commission! Focusing on first and second year band instrumentalists, the committee chose three familiar First Steps and Conversational Solfege melodies: Shoheen Sho, Bells in the Steeple, and Sailor, Sailor.