As an experience that has not fully registered, trauma may manifest through a series of behaviors that teachers may not typically welcome in the classroom. Students who have experienced trauma or who are currently experiencing trauma may exhibit resistance to instruction, appear defensive, withdrawn, or defiant, or experience anxiety or depression. Rather than suppressing these behaviors, this paper seeks to imagine ways that music education and the pedagogical encounter may support students' working through traumatic experiences.
Music education carries immense potential for responding to and supporting students who have experienced trauma. As a medium, music may allow educators and students to move in and out of traumatic material through varying content. Educators and students can also use music strategically to support difficult material. Teachers can further offer choices in our pedagogy so that students develop a sense of their own agency, and ultimately allow students the right of refusal to participate. The potential to develop agency in the context of music education potentially becomes a significant effort toward post-traumatic growth.