Autor: Garrett Snedeker
NCTM, is a 2019 graduate from Washington State University, with a bachelor of music degree in piano performance/ pedagogy. He is currently a Fulbright Scholar in London, pursuing a master of music degree in piano performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Copyright 2020 Music Teachers National Association. Used by permission.

In 1867, a young 20-year-old woman walked the streets of Rio de Janeiro. She had just divorced her husband, an officer in the Brazilian navy. Angry that she had snuck a guitar on his ship, he made her choose between him and her music, and…she chose music. Outraged, her father declared her dead to the family. Now a divorced woman living alone in the big city with her first-born son, she had no way to make a living.
Unless…she could be a musician.
But that would be ridiculous! The only respectable job for a woman was domestic work. She had thrown away any hope of that, along with her social status. She would be ridiculed by all of Brazil if she pursued a musical career.
Little did she know she would make history as Brazil’s first female professional pianist.

Music and Social Justice
As private piano teachers in the 21st century, we have a unique opportunity to impact the lives of young individuals. We take part in the socialization of children, shaping the minds of future voters, politicians, leaders and activists.
Music plays an important role in society. It has the power to provoke conversations, discussions and even revolutions. As social and political tensions rise in the United States, it is critical for us to ignite our students’ excitement for music as a key proponent to social change.
Introducing contemporary social issues in the piano studio gives our students opportunities to make a difference in their communities. An effective place to start is with the music of Chiquinha Gonzaga, Brazil’s first female professional pianist. In 19th-century Brazil, people of color and women in general were regarded as inferior. Despite this, Gonzaga defied female stereotypes by writing popular music that bridged barriers between social classes. By teaching Gonzaga’s music and applying her compositional techniques of mix- ing genres in our piano studios, we mold the next generation of musicians and leaders for social causes.

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