Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Music Education and Music Therapy (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don Coffman

Second Committee Member

Carlos Abril

Third Committee Member

Stephen Zdzinski

Fourth Committee Member

David Ake

Fifth Committee Member

Dina Birman


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.


popular music; higher education; curriculum; authenticity; interaction; popular music education