Staying in Sync: Keeping Popular Music Pedagogy Relevant to an Evolving Music Industry

Don Lebler, Donna Weston

Abstract


The Bachelor of Popular Music (BPM) program operates in purpose built facilities on the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University (Queensland, Australia). The degree design replicates how musicians progress outside formal learning contexts in an enhanced higher education environment, including self-directed and collaborative learning, participatory assessment, and critical listening as core activities. Graduates are independent musicians, having studied popular music history and analysis, audio production, songwriting and performance, ensuring competence in a broad range of popular music activities.
While the structure of the degree remains constant, the content and processes remain fluid in response to the rapid changes in the music industry. Reflecting the increasingly artist-driven nature of the industry itself, student consultation has provided the impetus for many of these changes. The primary goal of the program was, and still is, to produce graduates who are multi-skilled and able to engage effectively with the popular music industry, prepared to adapt to the changes that are characteristic of this dynamic field. This paper documents this process of change over a fifteen-year period, showing how pedagogy can respond to continually changing industry demands.

Keywords


popular music learning, popular music pedagogy, participatory assessment, career preparation, entrepreneurship

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