A Plea for Teaching Popular Music History

A couple of weeks back, I was a guest lecturer at Humber College where I spent four days teaching the history of popular music with a big emphasis on Canada. I’d do it again in a heartbeat because I’m passionate about the history of music. Why shouldn’t everyone learn about something that penetrates every aspect of our lives?

Jacobs Media Strategies agrees. This is from today’s newsletter.

Many of us got into radio all those years ago because we love music.  Whether you’re in programming, sales, or some other aspect of the business, music passion very likely played lit that spark.

Now imagine going to college and taking a class that would enable you to have a deeper appreciation for music, perhaps by zeroing in on an artist like the Stones or Willie Nelson, or an entire genre, like Country, Hip Hop, or Classic Rock.

Dave Whitt is a Professor of Communication Studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska, and he does just that.  Dave teaches classes in Persuasion, Mass Media, and Communication.  But the class that caught our attention is “Songs of Ascent: The Music and Meaning of U2.” He is also in the beginning stages editing a book on teaching popular music in the classroom.

For today’s Guest List, Dave discusses why classes on popular music should be a subject of study in the education process, especially at the college level.  – Seth Resler

Read on!

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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