Doctoral dissertation

Developing Popular Music Programs in Higher Education: Exploring Possibilities


Popular music programs continue to expand into higher education in the United States. By examining the who, what, when, where, how, and why of existing higher education popular music programs, information for future development and assessment can be provided. This qualitative multiple case study explored the creation, implementation and operation of two popular music performance programs in higher education in the United States: The Musicianship, Artistry Development and Entrepreneurship (MADE) Music Program at The University of Miami, Frost School of Music, and the Bachelor of Popular Music Program at The University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. This study examined the curriculum, interactions, leadership, pedagogies, resources, perceived value and successes of these programs. Adding to the larger discussion of popular music in higher education, this study provides insights, ideas and resources for those institutions and individuals already operating or contemplating the development and implementation of popular music programs within higher education settings.

Download PDF

Chapter in the book:

Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education:

Singers in the Academy: Training the Popular Music Vocalist


Many vocal pedagogues believe it is necessary to train all contemporary vocalists in a similar way – that they should all be able to ‘belt’, sing softly, ‘shift gears’ from one genre to another, and be skilled in multiple styles of singing simultaneously (LeBorgne & Rosenberg, 2014). For some singers, this is certainly a goal, and they may have the biology and drive to learn these skills. However, in this chapter, I offer an alternative – that we work with vocalists based on who they are and what they wish to achieve with their artistry. This chapter explores a brief historical overview of vocal pedagogy, proposes five categories of popular music vocalists, discusses general musicianship skills for these vocalists, and suggests ways in which these skills and this knowledge can be provided within a higher popular music education (HPME) performance program and popular music voice curriculum.

available for purchase here


Chapter in the book:

The Voice Teacher’s Cookbook

Creating the Template: Guiding Songwriters in the Application of Vocal Technique to Address Artistic Choices and Sonic Expression in their Original Music


When working with songwriters who are taking voice lessons and bringing in their original material, there is no template from which to work.  They are the composer and the performer.  There may be an idea of attitude of what the songwriter wants the song to emote, and there is certainly emotion behind the creation of the work, however, there is often a disconnect between what the emotion and lyrics imply and what is portrayed in performance.  One way to help songwriters discover how to portray these emotions and lyrics effectively is by connecting vocal technique to sonic and emotional expression.