Recent Music Education grad Siobhan Waldock wins CMEA/ACME Undergraduate Essay Contest

Siobhan Waldock, BMus'19 (Music Education) won first place in the CMEA/ACME 2019 Kenneth Bray Undergraduate Essay Competition for her essay, "We've got to fight the powers that be: Using hip-hop culture to educate and advocate in the classroom." Originally written for Dr. Paul Woodford's Philosophy of Music Education course at Western, the winning essay was recently published in the December 2019 Canadian Music Educator 61 (1) journal.

Waldock writes, "I wrote this paper because I was looking into the future of my music education career and understanding what the needs of under represented students in Canada and North America are. I reflected on millennials and Gen Z and the music they grow up hearing in the car, at parties, online etc. There is a huge disconnect between the Western classical music taught in the classroom and everything else. The “everything else,” especially hip hop, is seen as less educational and morally problematic to teachers and parents. My essay aims to educate and advocate for hip hop to be taught and valued by educators. Hip hop has a deep history in social justice and complex poetry, more than what is portrayed in the media. The reasons hip-hop is deemed inappropriate in education are the exact ones that justify its place in academia. Challenging societal issues such as race, class, drug use, violence against women, and so forth, give students an opportunity to discuss relevant issues from their daily lives. There is an abundance of intersectionality in hip hop. Through these critical dialogues, students can gain the knowledge and tools to form opinions and make a difference within their community. I discuss Ladson-Billings’ ‘culturally relevant pedagogy’ approach, Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the history of hip hop, the potential for socio-political activism, and the limitations, misuse, and value of hip hop in the classroom."

Read the essay (via

Siobhan Waldock is a music educator and choral enthusiast from Surrey, British Columbia. While at Western, she received the Deral Johnson Legacy Award in Choral Conducting and founded Choral Canada’s first student chapter. Siobhan is currently studying at Simon Fraser University in the teacher education program to pursue music education at the secondary level. This essay marks Siobhan’s first academic publication. Her current academic interests are researching and reshaping the model of music classes in Canadian schools and decolonizing music education through indigenous perspectives and cultures.

Related Links

CMEA Website

Music Education Department at Western University