Course Description

This course introduces music educators and music education students to the rich opportunities afforded by using popular music in the elementary music classroom. Through readings, the students will become familiar with the theoretical discussions surrounding popular music in present-day music education discourse. With a focus on topics such as comprehensive musicianship, digital composition, and critical listening, the course will expose students to a wide variety of inclusionary practices and give students the tools to begin constructing their own music curriculum centered on popular music.

Course Outline

  • Week 1: Why Teach with popular Music?
  • Week 2: Popular music in the lives of young students. What they listen to and how they listen
  • Week 3: Teaching musicianship with popular music I: Rhythm
  • Week 4: Teaching musicianship with popular music II: Melody
  • Week 5: Teaching musicianship with popular music III: Harmony & Form
  • Week 6: Teaching digital popular music composition I
  • Week 7: Teaching digital popular music composition II Video: (1) demo for Garage Band
  • Week 8: Critical Music Listening I: Facilitating critical dialogues around popular songs & Teaching popular music as a vehicle for social commentary
  • Week 9: Critical Music Listening  II: Multimodal listening
  • Week 10: Popular music literacies and the future of music education

Learner Outcomes

The goal of this course is to give music educators the tools, skills, and pedagogical dispositions to use popular music as a framework for music learning in the elementary music classroom. Participants will gain a clear understanding of the various musical parameters of popular music: melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. They will explore and develop lesson plans utilizing these understandings. Students will understand the role of popular music digital composition and become familiar with composition apps that afford creative possibilities for their students. Students will investigate new conceptualizations of music listening as the apply to popular music multimodal listening and understand how these new ways of listening impact their classrooms.

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Section Title
Teaching with Popular Music in the Elementary General Music Classroom
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition credit (3 units) $383.90
Available for Credit
3 Quarter Credits
Section Notes

This course is offered in collaboration with MusicFirst

Course is self-paced. Completion time: 10 weeks from date of enrollment.

Refund Policy: Withdrawals submitted online through SPU within 7 days of enrollment will receive a 95% refund. Withdrawals received after that point will not receive a refund and no withdrawals will be accepted after the completion deadline for the course. Instructions on how to withdraw are located on our website under Students/Withdrawal and Refund Policies.

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