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Popular music pedagogy

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Title: Popular music pedagogy  
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Subject: Music education, Rock music, Pop music
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Popular music pedagogy

Popular music pedagogy — alternatively called popular music education, rock music pedagogy, or rock music education — is a development in music education consisting of the systematic teaching and learning of popular music both inside and outside formal classroom settings.[1] Popular music pedagogy tends to emphasize group improvisation,[2] and is more often associated with community music activities than fully institutionalized school music ensembles.[3]

The origins of popular music pedagogy may be traced to the gradual infusion of rock music into formal schooling since the 1960s (in the UK, the USA, and elsewhere), however it has expanded as a specialization to include the offering of degree programs — including graduate degrees — in institutions of higher education.[4] Some notable community institutions, such as Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Seattle's Experience Music Project have also contributed to the development of popular music pedagogy through symposia and educational outreach programs.

The UK has pioneered the teaching of popular music, the first degree programme beginning as early as 1994 at Salford University. Postgraduate programmes were later introduced, for example at the Institute of Popular Music at the University of Liverpool. There are now more than 76 popular music studies degree programmes in the UK.[5] These programs expanded when the UK government made popular music a core part of schools' music provision through the Curriculum 2000 developments. The effect rippled into other countries as well. Popular music is commonly taught in German speaking countries [6] and in Ghana, for example.[7] It is also increasingly common in Australia. However, popular music courses tend to be based in newer institutions, rather than older more traditional ones, which often still focus principally on classical music.

Degree programs

Numerous institutions worldwide now offer popular music pedagogy as a component of their degree programs. The following is a partial list of institutions that offer advanced degree programs in popular music pedagogy and related fields:






  • University of Agder, Department of Popular Music

The UK

The US

The Netherlands

  • Fontys Rockacademie, Tilburg
  • Academie voor Popcultuur (Academy for Pop Culture), Leeuwarden

Popular Music Festivals in the United States of America [2]]

South by Southwest - Austin, TX

Ultra Music Festival - Miami, FL

Coachella - Indio, CA

Counterpoint - Kingston Downs, GA

Beale Street Music Festival - Memphis, TN

Sasquach Festival - Gorge, WA

Electric Daisy Carnival - New York, NY

Governors Ball - New York, NY and Las Vegas, NV

Bonnaroo - Manchester, TN

Warped Tour - Various locations

Firefly Music Festival - Dover, DE

Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL

Riot Fest - Chicago, IL

TomorrowWorld - Chattahoochee Hills, GA

Austin City Limits - Austin, TX

CMJ Music Marathon - New York, NY

The Fest - Gainesville, FL

Voodoo Music Experience - New Orleans, LA

Fun Fun Fun Fest - Austin, TX

Rock the Bells - TBA

See also


  1. ^ Hebert, David G. "Originality and Institutionalization: Factors Engendering Resistance to Popular Music Pedagogy in the U.S.A.." Music Education Research International 5, pp.12-21 (2011).
  2. ^ Higgins, Lee and Campbell, Patricia Shehan, Free to be Musical: Group Improvisation in Music (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2010).
  3. ^ Higgins, Lee, Community Music: In Theory and in Practice (Oxford University Press, 2012).
  4. ^ Lebler, Don "Popular Music Pedagogy: Peer Learning in Practice." Music Education Research 10 no. 2, pp.93-213 (2008).
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^


The following are some notable publications in this field:

  • Around the Sound: Popular Music in Performance, Education, and Scholarship - symposium proceedings (2001, Seattle: University of Washington Publications, for the Experience Music Project),
  • Cooper, B. Lee & Condon, Rebecca A. The Popular Music Teaching Handbook: An Educator’s Guide to Music-Related Print Resources (Libraries Unlimited, 2004).
  • Davis, Sharon G. "That Thing you Do!: Compositional Processes of a Rock Band". International Journal of Education and the Arts 6 no. 16 (2005).
  • Hebert, David G. "Originality and Institutionalization: Factors Engendering Resistance to Popular Music Pedagogy in the U.S.A.." Music Education Research International 5, pp. 12–21 (2011).
  • Hebert, David G. & Campbell, Patricia Shehan "Rock Music in American Schools: Positions and Practices Since the 1960s." International Journal of Music Education 36 no. 1, pp. 14–22 (2000).
  • Lebler, Don "Popular Music Pedagogy: Peer Learning in Practice." Music Education Research 10 no. 2, pp. 93–213 (2008).
  • Oehler, Susan & Hanley, Jason 21 no. 1, pp.2-19 (2009).Journal of Popular Music Studies"Perspectives of Popular Music Pedagogy in Practice: An Introduction."
  • Rodriguez, Carlos Xavier (Ed.). Bridging the Gap: Popular Music and Music Education (2003, MENC).
  • Stimeling, T. & Katz, M. "Songwriting as Musicological Inquiry: Examples from the Popular Music Classroom." Journal of Music History Pedagogy 2 (2011).
  • Tønsberg, Knut. Value changes in Norwegian music education. From increased acceptance of rock to a reduced status for classical music? Nordic research in music education. Yearbook Vol, 14. 145-166. (2013).

External links

  • International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM)
  • Association for Popular Music Education (APME)
  • International Society for Music Education
  • MayDay Group
  • Experience Music Project
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Dr Fung's International Music Education Links
  • Visions of Research in Music Education
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