With the increasing population of South Asian immigrants in the United States, Oshadhee Satarasinghe, adjunct music instructor and A&M-Commerce graduate, saw an opportunity to add those influences to public school music education programs. Her work has drawn national attention and was featured in the October 2018 issue of Teaching Music, a publication of the National Association for Music Education.
The article makes Satarasinghe feel proud of what she has accomplished. “I have come a long way both physically and mentally to come to this place in life, and it made me feel like my hard work was much appreciated,” she said.
Darla Meek, Lecturer and Music Education Coordinator at A&M-Commerce, has worked with Satarasinghe since she first came to the university. She and other music faculty were so impressed with Satarasinghe that they worked for a year to bring her back to the United States as a graduate teaching assistant in music education.
“It is quite an honor for someone so young to be featured in a national educator magazine. This article is adding to A&M-Commerce’s national presence in the music education world,” Meek said.
Satarasinghe believes that students can explore various techniques for ear training and harmonic development through exposure to South Asian folk music. “I have often had schools and music teachers contact me asking for resources that incorporate South Asia mainly because it is rare to find,” she said.
Teaching Music was interested in publishing Satarasinghe’s work because of its relevance to the growing South Asian communities in the U.S. and the lack of lessons for students in elementary schools that incorporate music from that region. “It’s important to see something from your country represented and to be able to speak or sing in that language,” Satarasinghe said.
“This article is exciting as it features both the great work being done in our department and also the remarkable achievements of a recent graduate,” said Dr. David Davies, interim department head for the music department.
Satarasinghe’s work will also be featured when she presents at the NAfME National Conference in November in Dallas.
Satarasinghe graduated from A&M-Commerce with an undergraduate degree in all-level music education with an emphasis in piano and voice and a Master of Music degree with an emphasis in elementary music education. In addition to working as an adjunct music instructor at the university, she is the middle school and high school choir director at Commerce ISD.