The cultural makeup of Australian school classrooms has become increasingly diverse over recent decades. In responding to this, a number of music educators have employed culturally responsive pedagogy, which respects and values the ethnocultural backgrounds of the students and uses the cultural knowledge and prior experiences of students to make learning encounters more engaging and relevant. This ethnographic multi-case study investigated the use of culturally responsive pedagogy and its impact on student engagement in the context of NSW schools located in the Sydney metropolitan area. The research contexts included two Intensive English Centres, schools that cater for the needs of newly arrived immigrant students with little to no English-speaking proficiency, in addition to a government high school in Sydney’s West with a culturally diverse student population. The philosophy and practices of Maple Youth Choir for newly arrived students, many of refugee background, was also examined. Using individual and focus group interviews, observations of lessons and video recordings, this study explored the tenets of culturally responsive pedagogy and their relationship to student engagement in these contexts. The data revealed that students’ connection to their ethnocultural identities is layered and complex and that students’ self- identity is integral to their decision to participate in music at school and in the broader community. Further, it was evident that empowering students’ voices and encouraging students to actively participate in knowledge construction led to deep engagement in learning. Finally, the study explored the philosophical ways that teachers approach culturally responsive pedagogy and the challenges that they face in its implementation. The results of this study promote the need for teachers to be continually reflective of their practice and considerate of the uniqueness of individual identity in acknowledging and empowering student voice.