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Teaching in an international school places you in an ethnically diverse community. To connect with your students and their families, it is essential to recognize and celebrate their cultures through the music we learn and perform in our ensembles. It is crucial to curate relevant and inclusive repertoire. The aim of this lecture is to explore the importance of inclusivity in musical repertoire, sharing examples, and discussing strategies we have used to select and develop repertoire that resonates with our community at the American International School of Lisbon.
1. Getting to know your audience:
- Address how important it is to inquire about your students’ backgrounds, their festivities, and the role of music in their culture/community.
2. Promoting Inclusivity:
- Discuss the importance of conveying to students how music is a part of every culture. Music is an element that makes us more “alike” than different.
3. Curating Diverse Content:
- Discuss the process of identifying pieces that resonate with ethnically diverse communities;
- Showcase examples of how to include students and families in the process of repertoire selection;
- Provide resources for finding and adapting content that caters to specific cultural interests.
4. Cultural Connections:
- Show how, in programming major performances for the community, the aim is to include several events that are relevant to our ethnically diverse community;
- Highlight the positive outcomes and impact on the community;
- Encourage participants to learn from these examples and adapt similar approaches in their own programming efforts.
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About the speaker
Elena Rojas Crocker, Violin and Viola
Venezuelan American violinist and violist Elena Rojas Crocker received a Diploma in Performance from the Simon Bolivar Conservatory – Venezuela, and a Bachelor and a Master of Music degree in violin performance from Queens College – New York, where she graduated Summa cum Laude and studied with Daniel Phillips. She also studied with Daniel Panner (USA), Margaret Pardee (USA), Sergio Celis, Eduardo Cedeño, and Kasimier Burek (Venezuela).
Prior to her arrival in New York, Ms. Rojas was a member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra-Venezuela, touring with them to Europe, Asia, and America, and recording masterpieces of Latin American composers for Dorian Records. Ms. Rojas was also the assistant to the concertmaster in the string orchestra Jóvenes Arcos de Venezuela.
Ms. Rojas attended the 1990 and 1996 summer festivals held by the Latin American Violin Academy, the 1997 Quartet Fest by the Penderecky Quartet in Waterloo-Canada, and was a scholarship recipient for the 1999 Killington Music Festival in Vermont.
In 2006, Ms. Rojas gave her New York Recital Debut at the Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, as one of the winners of the Special Awards of the 33rd Artists International Presentations. Ms. Rojas has performed as a soloist with the Queensborough Symphony in New York, with the Olavarria Symphony Orchestra in Argentina, with the Trujillo Symphony and Mérida Youth Symphony in Venezuela, and has given recitals in Argentina, Portugal, Venezuela, England, and the USA.
While in New York, Ms. Rojas participated extensively in the performance of contemporary music with guitarist Sylwia Kloc (Colloquio di Corde) and pianist Wei-Hsien Lien. Ms. Rojas also held a successful private teaching studio and was a faculty member at I Bach Arts and Music School and the United Nations International School – Queens Campus. Since 2010, she is the String Orchestra and IB Music teacher at the Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, in Portugal. With Hungarian guitarist Sandor Mester, they form Duo Eklektika.
She is married to Alan Crocker, and along with their son Kai and dogs, they make beautiful Sintra their home.