Culturally Inclusive Elementary Music Classroom Tools

Samantha Foss

April 5, 2023


In today’s culturally complex world, music classrooms can play an important role in teaching students to value their social and personal identities.

As a result, educators must choose educational materials and instructional strategies that create learning environments that support and affirm every student. The following tool provides a framework for incorporating musical repertoire, literature, and other resources to create a culturally inclusive elementary music classroom.

Multi-Sensory Approaches

The use of multi-sensory learning strategies is one of the most effective ways to engage all students in the classroom. It’s especially helpful for students with learning disabilities.

A multisensory approach is the simultaneous implementation of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning modalities. For example, tracing a letter with a finger and saying the sound of each syllable is called “touch and read.”

These activities have proven to be highly successful in helping students learn to read and spell words. They also help students retain the information over a longer period of time.

These types of learning methods are also effective in addressing learning differences for children with CVI. Because these children have a different combination of sensory input, it’s important for educators to know their personal strengths and weaknesses before implementing a multisensory program.


Literature is an artistic writing that reflects the culture or tradition of a society. It is distinguished from other writings by its beauty of expression, form, and universality of intellectual and emotional appeal.

Throughout the centuries, literature has been a source of insight and context for societies worldwide. It gives students the chance to see themselves in the works of others and gain a deeper understanding of the world.

To use literature effectively in a culturally inclusive elementary music classroom, choose options that include a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. These books can help students develop a sense of cultural identity that is essential to building classroom community.

In addition, select literature that is written by an author from a specific culture. Stories from authors of diverse backgrounds that share a biographical narrative encourage students to imagine their lives as similar to those in the book, which is essential for cultivating a culturally inclusive environment.


One of the most useful tools for constructing a culturally inclusive elementary music classroom is the use of musical instruments. Instruments can be used to create many different sounds and harmonies.

They can be made from a variety of materials–including wood, metals, and plastics. However, the majority of instruments are hand-made.

When an instrument is hand-made, it takes a lot of time and effort. It’s also much more expensive than a mass-produced instrument.


Culturally inclusive classrooms are a powerful tool for increasing student engagement. Using activities to teach music, culturally relevant social justice topics and other important content helps students develop skills to communicate respectfully, empathize with others and challenge stereotypes.

During instruction and assessment, multi-sensory activities such as verbal explanation, movement pieces, musical compositions or creating cards with images and textures help all students gain a deeper understanding of the material.

Children’s literature within music instruction is another excellent tool for building culturally inclusive classrooms. Check your teaching resources with a critical eye to make sure they include books that reflect different voices, backgrounds and experiences.