Trauma–Informed Music Education (TIME):

A New Perspective on Care in K-12 Music Education


The world is recovering from the global COVID-19 pandemic that significantly changed education. Trauma-informed education is considered as a solution while making it practical for music education. The trauma-informed music education (TIME) philosophy provides educators with a framework to consider TIC in curriculum development, program development, ensemble culture, and more. A trauma-informed environment requires ensuring safety, establishing trustworthiness, maximizing choice, maximizing collaboration, and prioritizing empowerment. Research shares these ideas for general education but not the music education. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore the elements of TIME and discover potential barriers to effective teacher implementation in K-12 music programs. LinkedIn as the research site, data was collected from email interviews with K-12 band and orchestra directors, general music teachers, and other private and specialized music instructors. Transcripts were coded using the grounded method and MAXQDA software. Themes extracted from the data offer practical ways to consider trauma-informed principles in the modern music classroom in spite of perceived barriers. The elements of TIME are: Realize: Why is the trauma-informed approach necessary; Recognize: What is the music teacher’s role in the classroom; Respond: Music education as a medium for personal growth; and Resist re-traumatization: Safety and stabilization in the music education classroom. The music education philosophy merges therapeautic music education, cooperative learning and social-emotional learning (SEL). Barriers to TIME implementation are a lack of time and training. Educators must commit to making time but this study begins to mitigate the lack of knowledge on the new subject.

Keywords: trauma, trauma-informed, trauma-informed care, trauma-informed education, music education, music therapy, therapeutic music education, cooperative learning, social-emotional learning