The Telegraph reports that University of Oxford academics have complained that “Teaching notation which has not ‘shaken off its connection to its colonial past’ would be a ‘slap in the face’ for some students”, as it has “complicity in white supremacy”.
UPDATE: The Associated Press has “confirmed with representatives at the university that the music program is not considering” removal of music notation from the curriculum.
In response to widespread Black Lives Matter protesters and riots last year in the United Kingdom, music educators at Oxford University have joined the wider iconoclastic movement which has been sweeping through British academia.
Academics proposed changing the way music notation is taught because it is a “colonialist representational system”, with professors seeking to focus less on white European heritage and culture, according to documents seen by The Telegraph.
The woke educators went on to claim that musical notation itself is a “colonialist representational system” that has “complicity to white supremacy”. The claim is similar to leftist pronouncements in America that mathematics is inherently racist.
The Oxford academics went on to pronounce that teaching the piano or conducting orchestras could cause “students of colour great distress” as the skills involved are closely tied to “white European music”.
Professors at the university said that the classical music which is taught at Oxford, which includes Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, among others, is too focused on “white European music from the slave period”.
The assertion is somewhat dubious, as Western classical music, as well as the practice of sheet music notation, predates the Atlantic slave trade, stemming back to musical traditions from the medieval period such as Gregorian chanting.
Delingpole: Now Oxford University Grovels to Black Lives Matter https://t.co/PsXQXWu8rN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 17, 2020
In response to student demands “arising from international Black Lives Matter demonstrations,” the Oxford faculty is also considering placing a heavier emphasis on “non-Eurocentric” musical traditions such as Hip-Hop and Jazz, as well as “African and African Diasporic Musics” and “Global Musics”.
The curriculum could also place more importance on pop music and culture, with suggested topics including “Artists Demanding Trump Stop Using Their Songs” at campaign rallies and “Dua Lipa’s Record-Breaking Livestream”.
Mocking the woke push from the university, London mayoral candidate and Heritage Party leader David Kurten said: “For goodness sake. Oxford is supposed to be one of our top Universities that promotes academic rigour and excellence. It should not be peddling woke nonsense like ‘classical music is racist and ‘sheet music is non-inclusive'”.
The proposals come amid a wider push throughout British academia to “decolonise the curriculum” in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In February, for example, the University of Leicester caused uproar after it proposed cutting courses in Medieval English literature — removing seminal works such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf — in favour of focusing more heavily on texts relating to sexuality, diversity, race, and ethnicity.
The woke push has also seen the introduction of speech codes, with the University of Manchester telling staff to refrain from using gendered words such as “father” or “mother” in favour of more “inclusive language”.
Three Wise Monkeys Are Racist Now, Says Woke University of York https://t.co/owGSJIoBGQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 24, 2021
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