Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity is inherent in music and essential to its future.

As the largest community music school in the nation, MacPhail Center for Music has a responsibility to create real and substantive social change in music education. Embracing the principles of DEI are essential to the future of music education and music therapy.

MacPhail Mission, Vision & Responsibility

Our mission is to transform lives and strengthen communities through music learning experiences that inspire. We believe it is our duty to not only address and help correct the historic exclusion of students, faculty, performers, and composers from diverse populations, but to forge a new, equitable and inclusive path forward.

Our vision is to provide students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities access to enduring music learning experiences through extraordinary faculty, relevant programs, and integrated learning technology to create successful outcomes.

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Our Commitment

MacPhail Center for Music has the opportunity and responsibility to play a key role in rebuilding and contributing to substantive societal change. It is our duty to be intentional in the inclusion and celebration of students, teachers, performers, and composers from historically excluded populations.

The principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are inherent in music education and essential to its future. For MacPhail, this means living in alignment with our core values and mission every single day.  

We are dedicated to sustainable and systemic change in our programs, practices, and daily work with the communities we serve. This is forever work, and our ongoing goal is continuous transformation as an institution, and intentional equity and inclusion in our work.

Read more from Roque Diaz, MacPhail Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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DEI work wheel

DEI Resources for Music Educators

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leadership

Roque Diaz, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a first-generation Puerto Rican college graduate, Dr. Diaz has shaped his career goals and qualifications by combining leadership, administration, scholarship, teaching, and performance through nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, and K-12 school teaching in multiple countries. Dr. Diaz joined MacPhail Center for Music as the Director of School Partnerships in 2018, and currently guides the Center’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as the Senior Director of DEI. Dr. Diaz’s journey as a historically excluded person of color in predominantly white spaces underlies his commitment to assuring more inclusive, culturally diverse, and relevant experiences through the lens of DEI. More…

Christopher Rochester, Director of the Global Music Initiative (GMI) is a musician, educator, and composer. Chris was exposed to many Black American cultural practices during his youth and was fortunate enough to be able to quickly understand how much influence that culture plays in music. He has a wonderful ability to both perform and teach in a way that shines light on the cultural influences of Black American traditions. More…

Elizabeth Winslow, Director of School Partnerships & Project Amplify, is originally from Denver, Colorado, She moved to Minnesota to earn her degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in Instrumental Music Education with honors in composition, magna cum laude. After graduation, Elizabeth served as assistant director at Brooklyn Center High School and then moved on as director of band and choir at Marshall County Central High School. Before coming to MacPhail, she worked with the Richfield Marching Spartans from 2012-2021 and was the Richfield High School band director from 2016-2021. More…

MacPhail’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Providing direction and oversight for MacPhail’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, the committee establishes organizational goals, activities to reach desired outcomes, and determines how successes will be measured. The DEI Committee assists in the continued work of creating an environment where students, staff, and faculty feel safe, included, and heard where they can learn, grow, and be successful without barriers.

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Jakkee Phillips
Student Services Assistant Manager
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Kyle Carpenter
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Paul Babcock
President and COO
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Tamara Gonzalez
Suzuki DaCapo and Sinfonia Orchestra Conductor, Ascension Catholic School Conductor & MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra Sectional Coach
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Dr. Roque Diaz
Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
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Timothy De Prey
Director of Individual Instruction
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Kristen Blue
Vice President of Human Resources
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Dr. Sara Langmead
Piano Faculty
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Rachel Hickman
Online School Partnerships Manager
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Syne Barr
Social Media and Graphic Design Coordinator
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Joe Kaiser
Cello Faculty

Recent Activities

Celebrating Cultural Heritage Around the World & at MacPhail

We are eager to hear personal and musical insights from our students, faculty, staff, and greater community about a particular cultural heritage month that resonates with you as that month approaches. You are also encouraged to share other relevant information for global celebratory days as it relates to various groups’ contributions to history. Visit the form below to learn more and submit.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shared Terminology

The terminology around diversity, equity and inclusion is broad and still growing. Therefore, a common vocabulary to avoid misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or ableist language is needed at MacPhail. Words often have different meanings; depending on lived experiences words might hold different meanings for different people. The purpose of the DEI Shared Terminology is to create a living document around equitable and inclusive practices providing a starter guide framework that is constantly evolving to support terminology as a resource to all employees and students at MacPhail.

Person-first Language vs Identity-first Language

Disability is a natural part of the human experience, an aspect of human diversity like other areas of human variation, and at MacPhail, we value and respect our employees and students’ self-identity. Depending on one’s self-identity, they may prefer to use people-first language. People-first language places the emphasis on the person instead of on the disability when discussing most intellectual and developmental disabilities. For example, instead of saying “Down syndrome person,” it is preferable to say, “person with Down syndrome.”

Another perspective is for one is identity-first language. Identity-first language emphasizes that the disability plays a role in who the person is and reinforces disability as a positive cultural identifier. Identity-first language is generally preferred by self-advocates in the autistic, deaf, and blind communities. It is important to note that whether a person with a disability prefers people-first or identity-first language is not universal.

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Global Music Initiative

MacPhail’s Global Music Initiative (GMI), guided by experts in music pedagogy, works to create inclusive curricula, teaching methods, and performance opportunities outside of the classical canon that represent people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and women.

This approach to music instruction fosters innovation and cultural equity and welcomes the contributions of all styles and traditions.

GMI Artist in Residence

The GMI Artist-in-Residence Program offers 8-month residencies at MacPhail Center for Music to foster cultural change in our communities through passion and creativity in music. Believing that supporting and investing in diverse voices challenges current ideas of music education pedagogy, this program is a commitment to become a deeply anti-racist organization by giving diverse voices a platform to share their creative stories, challenge ideas, and question the nature of existence.

Selected recipients are provided artistic and educational opportunities to promote a culturally thriving tomorrow.

MacPhail’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work is made possible in part by support from the following funders:

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