Dr. Anita Prest

Dr. Anita Prest
Associate Professor, Music Education
Curriculum and Instruction
Office: MacLaurin A564

PhD University of British Columbia, MMus University of Calgary, BMus University of Victoria

  • Music education
  • Rural education
  • Decolonizing and Indigenizing music education
  • Sociology of music education
  • Diversity in education
  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • School-community music education partnerships
  • Place-based/conscious education
  • Social capital
  • Praxialist and pragmatist music education philosophies
  • Qualitative and Indigenous methodologies and methods
My research interests entail decolonizing and Indigenizing music education in British Columbia from a variety of vantage points. To date, I have explored how music teachers and culture bearers develop relationships to embed local Indigenous knowledge in music classes in both rural and metropolitan settings; factors that must be considered before Indigenous culture bearers, composers and music teachers might collaborate to create resources, and; the ways in which music teachers apply the teachings of the Grandmother Drum they learned in an Indigenizing Music Education course to their particular teaching contexts. Currently, I am partnering with Indigenous and educational institutions to organize a large conference for music educators, school district Indigenous leaders, and Indigenous community members to discuss and develop local action plans to decolonize and Indigenize music education in each school district. Prior to my appointment at the University of Victoria, I taught K-12 music for 20 years in rural and metropolitan settings.
From policy to practice in decolonization and Indigenizing music education: Ensuring teacher understanding of Indigenous worldviews

(Funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant)

In this study, partners will design, organize, and carry out a large, two-day knowledge-sharing and -creation conference in 2022 for music teachers and Indigenous leaders from all 60 BC school districts, Elders and culture bearers, and other interested parties.  Using conference as a research method, we will document the knowledge that is created and shared during these activities.  Our second goal is to develop and maintain networks of communication for participants as they engage in this ongoing work, and our third goal is to design and create appropriate knowledge mobilization activities and outputs that support all interested parties.  Partners are: The Victoria Native Friendship Centre, The BC Ministry of Education, the BC Music Educators’ Association, Pacific Opera, SD 61 (Victoria), SD 83 (Salmon Arm), and UBC.  We have hired a Project Manager and three Research Assistants for this project.

Decolonizing and Indigenizing music education through teachings of the grandmother drum: Examining educational modelling process and outcomes​​

(Funded by a University of Victoria Strategic Initiatives – Indigenous Grant)

In this study, I am researching the ways in which music teachers embed Indigenous knowledge, pedagogy, and worldview in their classes during the 2019-2020 school year as a result of Mi'kmaw instructor Sarah Rhude's modelling and teachings in a Music Education Summer Institute course they took (EDCI 499 Indigenizing Music Education). I have hired one graduate student Research Assistant for this project. 

Indigenizing choral music education: Towards an ethos of resurgence, reconciliation, and bridging

(Funded by a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant)

In this study, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre has partnered with my colleagues (Dr. J. Scott Goble from UBC and Dr. Adam Con from University of Victoria) and me to facilitate 4 sharing circles in which Elders, knowledge keepers, music teachers, and other interested parties explore the issues that must be discussed before resources might be created for music teachers to appropriately embed local Indigenous content, pedagogy, and worldview in music classes. We have been able to hire and train two graduate student Research Assistants for this project.

Culturally responsive music education: Integrating Indigenous knowledge, pedagogy, and cultural practices in rural British Columbian public schools

(Funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant)

In this study, I and my research partner, Dr. J. Scott Goble of UBC, examined the ways in which public school music educators in rural British Columbia, in partnership with First Nations and Métis community members, facilitate the appropriate embedding of local Indigenous content, pedagogy, and worldview in music classes, schools, and the broader community. We were able to hire and train four graduate student Research Assistants for this project.


(Funded by a SSHRC doctoral fellowship)

My doctoral dissertation (2014), The growth and contributions of bridging social capital to rural vitality via school-community music education partnerships, can be found at the University of British Columbia cIRcle repository.

Prest, A., & Tremblay, K. (2021). Shall we do this together? Decolonizing instrumental music education in Canada. Canadian Winds, 20(1), 29–33.

Prest, A., Goble, J. S., Vazquez-Cordoba, H., & Jung, H.-J. (2021). On sharing circles and educational policies: Learning to enact Indigenous worldviews in British Columbia music classes. Finnish Journal of Music Education, 24(2), 54–69.

Prest, A., & Goble, J. S. (2022). Decolonizing and Indigenizing music education through self-reflexive sociological research and practice. In C. Frierson-Campbell, C. Hall, S. Powell & G. Rosabal-Coto (Eds.), Sociological Thinking in Music Education: International Intersections (pp. 203–216). Oxford University Press. 

Prest, A., Goble, J. S., Vazquez-Cordoba, H., & Tuinstra, B. (2021). Enacting curriculum “in a good way:" Indigenous knowledge, pedagogy, and worldviews in British Columbia music education classes. Journal of Curriculum Studies.Pre-published online, open access; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2021.1890836

Prest, A., & Goble, J. S. (2021). Language, music, and revitalizing Indigeneity: Effecting cultural restoration and ecological balance via music education. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 29(1), 24–46. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2979/philmusieducrevi.29.1.03

Bates, V., Shevock, D., & Prest, A. (2021). Cultural diversity, ecodiversity, and music education. In A. A. Kallio, S. Karlsen, K. Marsh, E. Saether, & H. Westerlund (Eds.), The politics of diversity in music education, (pp. 163–174). Landscapes: The arts, aesthetics, and education series. Springer. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-030-65617-1

Prest, A., & Goble, J. S. (2021). Toward a sociology of music education informed by Indigenous perspectives. In R. Wright, P. Kanellopoulos, G. Johansen, & P. Schmidt (Eds.), Routledge Handbook to Sociology of Music Education, (pp. 80–96). Routledge.  

Gouzouasis, P., & Prest, A. (2020). Suicide is (never) painless: Teacher experiences on the edge of life and death. In K. Clausen & G. Black (Eds.), The Future of Action Research in Education: A Canadian Perspective, (pp. 141–153)McGill-Queen's University Press. 

Prest, A. (2020). Cross-cultural understanding: The role of rural school-community music education partnerships. Research Studies in Music Education 42(2), 208–230. Pre-published online January 2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1321103X18804280

Prest, A., Goble, J. S., & Vazquez, H. (2020). On sharing circles and educational policies: Learning to enact Indigenous worldviews in BC music classes. In C. Aguilar, C. Poblete Lagos, A. Prest, & L. Kapalka Richerme (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Biennial International Seminar Commission on Music Policy: Culture, Education, and Media. International Society for Music Education (pp. 149–58). Virtual Conference. https://www.isme.org/sites/default/files/documents/proceedings/Carla%20Aguilar%20-%202020%20Policy%20Proceedings_0.pdf

Prest, A., & Goble, J.S. (2018). On doing the right thing in (not) the wrong way: Steps to effective embedding of local knowledge and place-conscious learning in British Columbia K-12 music classes. In Hung-Pai Chen, Alethea De Villiers, & Alexandra Kertz-Welzel (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th Biennial International Seminar Commission on Music Policy: Culture, Education, and Media. International Society for Music Education(pp. 207-215). Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, DE.

Prest, A. (2016). Editorial introduction: Recognizing the rural. [Special issue on rural education]. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 15(4), 1–11. doi:10.22176/act15.4.1

Prest, A. (2016). Social capital as a conceptual framework in music education research. [Special issue on rural education]. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 15(4). 127-60. doi:10.22176/act15.4.127

Prest, A. (2016). Mandatory culturally responsive music education in British Columbia, Canada: Possibilities, Challenges, and Implications. In Hung-Pai Chen, & Patrick Schmidt (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th Biennial International Seminar Commission on Music Policy: Culture, Education, and Media. International Society for Music Education (pp. 384–413). Birmingham, UK: Birmingham City University. ISBN: 978-0-9942055-6-8

Prest, A., & Lin, C.-C. (2016). Youth inquiry, healing, and well-being via relational learning in the arts. AERA Online Paper Repository.

Prest, A. (2013). Challenges and place-based responses for music education in rural British Columbia: A UBC Study. Canadian Music Educator, 55(2), 11-19.

Prest, A. (2013). Weaving First Nations cultural practices into music education in British Columbia. Japanese Journal of Music Education Research, 43(2), 15-21.

Prest, A. (2013). The corporatization of schooling and its effects on the state of music education: A critical Deweyan perspective. Action, Criticism, & Theory for Music Education Journal, 12(3), 31-44. Retrieved from http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Prest12_3.pdf 

Prest, A. (2013). The importance of context, reflection, interaction, and consequence in rural music education practice. Journal of Research in Rural Education28(14), 1-13. Retrieved from http://sites.psu.edu/jrre/wp-content/uploads/sites/6347/2014/02/28-14.pdf 

Prest, A. (2013). Towards an Enriched Rural Conception of Music Curriculum and Pedagogy. Michigan Music Educator, 51(1)12-14

Prest, A. (2012). Weaving First Nations ways of musicing into British Columbian school music education curricula. In J. Scott Goble & Tadahiko Imada (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Biennial International Seminar Commission on Music Policy: Culture, Education, and Media. International Society for Music Education (pp. 119-126). Vancouver: University of British Columbia.

Prest, A. (2011). Widening the boundaries of music education in a small rural BC town: A case study. In B. Bolden, & M. Kennedy (Eds.), Widening the boundaries of music education (pp. 21-32). Victoria, BC: University of Victoria.

Area advisor for Music Education.
Current graduate student supervision

2021 - Kara Flanagan, PhD 

2021 - Hyo Jung Jung, PhD

2019 - Raúl Mendoza, PhD

Completed graduate student supervision

2017 - Hyo Jung Jung, MA
A Philosophical Exploration of Music Education and Democratization: How music education might contribute to the development of a culturally diversified democratic society

2016 - Hector Vazquez, PhD
Building an appreciation for Indigenous cultures in Mexico via music education
(Recipient of two-year SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship) 

2016-2018 - Beth Tuinstra, MA
Embracing identity: An examination of non-Western music education practices in British Columbia
(Recipient of SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship - Master's Level)