top of page

If Colors Could Be Heard,
They'd Paint the Most Wondrous Tunes

Narratives about Music Education, Race, Ethnicity, and Identity.

A book under contract with Intellect Books

here was the cafeteria…it was almost as though it had journeyed to meet him…the night was so blue…how does blue feel…or red or gold or any other color…if colors could be heard he could paint most wondrous tunes…symphonious…think…the dulcet clear tone of a blue like night…of a red like pomegranate juice…like Edith’s lips…of the fairy tones to be heard in a sunset…like rubies shaken in a crystal cup…of the symphony of Fania…and silver…and gold…he had heard the sound of gold…but they weren’t the sounds he wanted to catch…no…they must be liquid…not so staccato but flowing variations of the same caliber…there was no one in the cafe as yet…he sat and waited…

From Smoke, Lilies and Jade by Richard Bruce Nugent

... and we, People of Color in music education, have waited long enough to tell our own stories in our own voices. Will you join us in telling your experience as a Person of Color in Music and Music Education?

Meet The Editors

Hear the editors talk about the project, read excerpts from their chapters, and more!

Call for Chapter Proposals

We invite chapter proposals from musicians, educators, artists, students, hobbyists, and activists that tell their own stories about being People of Color and how that identity is an intimate and essential part of music education, learning, and teaching in their lives.

Project Overview

This book creates a platform for People of Color to claim a space in music education literature,  where marginalized people are overlooked, and their stories are often narrated by oppressors and colonizers of various kinds. Given the profession’s continued grappling to enact inclusive practices and give better access to people of all races, this book will feature the necessary truth-telling that bridges a gap in the literature in which People of Color can tell their own stories. The book beckons readers who desire a deep, comprehensive perspective from which to understand, interpret, question, and reflect upon the ways race, culture, and identity influence and mediate music making.


This volume is a collection of short chapters containing essays, literary narratives (song lyrics, prose, verse), and theoretical texts that can be supplemented with arts (visual art, recordings, videos).  We encourage book chapters that use methodological approaches like autoethnography and autobiography. Chapters will be short, easy to read, and avoid excessive academic jargon. Most narratives are in first person (using “I” as a starting point for narration) and feature the lived experiences of People of Color in music teaching and learning told from the perspective of said People of Color.


Each chapter will be a 1,500 to 2,000-word narrative in the author’s own voice. Own voices is a literary movement born out of the We Need Diverse Books movement that develops books highlighting minority groups and people’s lived experiences and cultures. Rather than featuring stories of People of Color written from the perspectives of White people, this literary movement empowers People of Color to create literature through their own voices.

Submit a chapter abstract

If you’re interested in contributing to this project, please fill out the proposal survey, which will ask for:

  • A tentative title for your chapter

  • A 50-100 word biography

  • A 25-50 word “big idea” description about the purpose of your chapter

  • An 300-600 word abstract that summarizes the story you want to tell

  • A citation (or up to three) of a preexisting piece of literature that you will connect your chapter to and a description of how your chapter will further discourse. These citations can be:

    • A theory that you want to further with your own story

    • A study that contrasts your experience

    • A study that your chapter provides more insight into

    • A pedagogy that you expand upon

    • A piece of scholarship that claimed something and your story fills in a gap

    • A piece of literature that you want to argue or refute

    • Literature that you wrote that you want to build upon

  • Two topics your chapter will address that encourage critical thinking and group discussion

The survey can be found at

Important Dates

April 30, 2022                      Proposal survey opens

July 1, 2022                         Chapter proposals due to editors

September 15, 2022              Notification of accepted chapter proposals

February 15, 2022                 Authors submit full chapters for review

April-August 2023                Revisions with editors



Questions about the book chapter proposal may be emailed to the team at Individual emails are also accessible above through the envelope icons.


Dr. Christopher Cayari

Dr. Jason D. Thompson

Dr. Rekha S. Rajan

bottom of page