Embracing the music of our time: an exploration of the benefits of teaching popular music in small groups

Trish (Patricia) Julie Rooney


This piece of research aims to study whether and how the kind of learning that takes place in groups, focusing on popular music, might enhance students’ enjoyment of music lessons. It is located in The College of Popular Music in Ireland (which is in its first year) that is inspired by the philosophy underpinning the Berklee College of Music, Boston:

Berklee was founded on two revolutionary ideas: that musicianship could be taught through the music of the time; and that our students need practical, professional skills for successful, sustainable music careers. While our bedrock philosophy has not changed, the music around us has and requires that we evolve with it. (Berklee College of Music, Mission & Philosophy)

As popular music education and group teaching in Ireland is a new phenomenon and individual classical lessons continue to be the dominant form of tuition, it would be useful for the institution to understand the advantages and possible disadvantages of teaching and learning popular music in groups of five. The students’ interests are first and foremost for the College, therefore, it is important for us to know if the students are enjoying the lessons and why, and if there are elements to our teaching that can be improved upon.


Popular Music Education, Group teaching

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