Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime

Black history Month: Representation Matters By Donna Harris © 2021

Black History Month, Why It Is Important


I am very late with my blog but I didn’t want this month to pass without expressing its importance.


It’s Black History Month (BHM) and I am thankful. Some do not think we should acknowledge Black history, culture and the on-going desire for equality during this month reasoning that we should do so every day anyway.  


However, having BHM doesn’t mean that we only raise/gain awareness during this time. This month is a friendly reminder of what we could be missing. It is up to us to decide how we use what we have learnt and expand on it beyond.


One of the fun things we could do is learn about artists we are unfamiliar with or have not studied in detail previously.


I am grateful for BHM because when I was growing up, I had no such awareness. None of the music I learnt was by black composers. And, quite frankly, that’s what you could expect because race was not a part of the equation.


As a child, I taught myself how to play by ear the main theme of The Entertainer by Scott Joplin. It was a tune I had heard often from TV, but I never knew he was black!


Who knows what I could have learnt if I had had the awareness that there were black composers a lot earlier than contemporary times. It would have meant a lot. The fact is representation matters and always will.


Black History Month Diversifies Our Musical Experience


Nowadays, more effort is made for you to learn different kinds of music. Sometimes, many teachers still prefer to stick to classical music. That is OK if you want to be exclusively classically trained.


However, we now have greater awareness of black composers in various genres including classical. In general, it’s still a good idea to know what you want to learn and feel comfortable telling your teacher so you can learn it.


BHM helps you discover “new” music to explore and thus enriches your skills and enjoyment.


You may want a teacher who truly embraces different kinds of music or the music you especially want to learn.


I hope you find BHM a time of positive discoveries.


I am a teacher who enjoys teaching my students different kinds of music. Get in touch via the red button below to explore lessons with me.


To find out more about Scott Joplin, please see this lovely article about him from The Pianist Magazine.