Connecting Music and Social Work Principles

Headshot of Midori Samson with basson
Dr. Midori Samson

What does the bassoon have to do with social work? Recent graduate, Dr. Midori Samson draws the connection through her work to invoke social work principles in and through music. This spring she completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Bassoon Performance with a Doctoral Minor in Social Welfare.

Her dissertation: Recentered Music Learning: Operationalizing Social Work Principles as Anti-racist, Anti-oppressive, Socially Just Music Praxis, outlines specific ways to center music learning within social work frameworks.

Samson was a featured speaker at the Mead Witter School of Music graduation ceremony this month. She spoke of ways music and music education train students to question, critique, and call out – skills that should and could, according to Samson, expand to discussions of racial and social justice. She asked graduates to figure out, “How will you use your art form to fight against the systems of injustice that are rampant in this field? How will you use your artform to say loud and clear: Black Lives Matter, Black Trans Lives Matter, Black Disabled Lives Matter, that it’s time to stop Asian hate, that immigrants and refugees are welcome, that climate justice is social justice, and that we are all on stolen native land?”

Her graduation talk can be viewed at the 37:30 mark.

Samson is a self-described, “bassoonist, educator, activist, and scholar.” She is a lecturer of bassoon at UW-Stevens Point, 2nd bassoonist of the Wisconsin Chamber of Orchestra, and has performed around the world.