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2- Success and Struggle in Undergraduate Popular Music Studies - Kyle Tang, Western University

10:30 AM, Saturday 25 May 2019 (2 hours)
Lunch   12:30 PM to 01:30 PM (1 hour)
I encountered a gamut of experiences during my four years in the undergraduate Popular Music Studies program at Western University’s Faculty of Music, a faculty most well-known for its classical programs, from which I have recently graduated. Though studying popular music is nothing short of a dream for many students who come into the program, there remain numerous challenges which this minority group within the faculty must face every day. In this paper, I use Western’s Popular Music Studies program as a case study to explore points of success and struggle in undergraduate-level Popular Music Studies. I first draw upon my own experiences, alongside those of students still in the program, to provide valuable student perspectives on studying popular music within a still classically-focused faculty. I then draw upon the work of Cloonan, Oehler and Hanley, and Green to analyze effectiveness, strengths, and weaknesses of the program and curriculum in its aim of popular music education. Finally, through looking at these positives and negatives within both the culture and curriculum of the program, I conclude with recommendations for potential improvement in the hope that undergraduate programs in popular music studies such as Western’s may continue to develop and thrive.
Western University
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