MN High School Band Class Won’t Buy Music From White Male Composers

Photo Credit: Evan Frost/MPR News https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/01/04/spring-lake-park-band-diversity-repertoire

Band directors promise to include pieces by females and composers of color in every band concert

Spring Lake Park, MN – The Spring Lake Park High band program have made a commitment to limit their use of music from white male composers.

Band directors Brian Lukkasson and Nora Tycast promise to include one piece by a female composer and one piece by a composer of color in every band concert. In addition, they will not buy music from white male composers.

“We made a commitment this year to only buy music from composers of color,” says Lukkasson told NPR in an interview.

The commitment has been difficult to fulfill. Lukkasson says it has been hard to find music because “not a lot of composers of color are being published.”

According to Tycast, the school promotes conversation among upperclassmen about race and culture. She sees this platform as an open door to include teaching and discussion about the cultural and racial history of the pieces she chooses for her band students.

“The more you practice talking about race, culture and ethnicity the more comfortable you are,” Tycast told NPR.

One of Lukkasson’s students, Kia Muleta, told NPR that she was bothered that most of the composers they used to play were white men.

“There’s a kind of an ideological segregation of who can and cannot be in band, based on who the composers are, and what the music is like,” Muleta, a junior, told NPR.