Spencer Hart-Thompson
(He/Him) As a disabled musician, I have found myself faced with many barriers of entry throughout my career. In an effort to remove these barriers, I started my first research project in 2021 to develop accommodations that would go on to reduce reported pain and task load, while improving overall performance. During my literature review for this research, I discovered the ground-level impact of instructors on their students, pushing me to cultivate research on inclusive pedagogies in music education.
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Spencer Hart-Thompson

Growing up in the Greater Boston Area, I had the opportunity to work with talented musicians in several areas of study and within varying genres. It was through these interactions that I develped a taste for genre fusion and began developing my own unique composition styles.

Unfortunately, soon after discovering my affinity for music, I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a condition charactarized by extreme pain in a specific area of the body. As a result, I was marginalized by the current music education standards. 

When I began studying music at Boston University, I started feeding my passion via diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I pursued courses under the umbrella of DEI, such as Music of Black Americans, Intro to the Deaf World, and Intro to Access and Equity in Music Education. Additionally, as a Resident Assistant at Boston University, I have developed resources that have allowed students to cultivate authentic relationships and respect different lived experiences. I learned and thrived in these environments, which then led me to create my own directed study, where I could continue to combine my interests in music education and DEI.

I decided to create two different research projects to improve the current systems of accommodation– the first of which created new accommodations that were more successful in improving performance, while also reducing reported pain scale ratings and task load by 31.32% and 33.41% respectively. Working alongside Dr. Gareth Smith, an experienced music education researcher at Boston University, we have begun the process of entering peer revision, where I will then publish my first research paper in the Journal of Popular Music Education. This summer, I plan to work alongside Dr. Ruth Debrot, a music education researcher with a strong background in instructor pedagogies and vocal performance instruction, to create more inclusive practices in music education. 

My hope is that through these projects, and projects like them, I can continue to show the need for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work in our modern world. After graduation, I hope to continue working in the DEI space to create inclusive accommodations and policies with a focus on disability advocacy and awareness. Social awareness around disability leads to empathetic and accessible environments where disabled individuals can flourish and grow– because the world is a more interesting place when diverse populations have the opportunity to participate.




Special Skill

Music Educator

Disability advocacy

Music composition