“Something’s Happening Here!”: Popular Music Education in the United States

Bryan Powell, Andrew Krikun, Joseph Michael Pignato


Although the number of opportunities to learn popular music in the United States continues to grow, popular music education (PME) programs remain exceptional at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of institutionalized music education. This article provides insight into the unique characteristics of a number of PME initiatives currently operating in the United States. A historical background is established to provide context regarding the history of PME in the United States. Additionally, a focus on an expanding landscape for American PME is included, as is an examination of six specific initiatives that are particularly noteworthy. This review of popular music programs, initiatives, and institutions illustrates the rapid proliferation of PME programs in the United States that has occurred in the twenty-first century. As this brief snapshot of American institutions and organizations demonstrates, PME in the United States is alive with possibilities and promise.


Popular music education, United States, music history, modern band, commercial music

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