Teachers the world over are discovering the importance and benefits of incorporating popular culture into the music classroom. The cultural prevalence and the students' familiarity with recorded music, videos, games, and other increasingly accessible multimedia materials help enliven course content and foster interactive learning and participation. Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube provides ideas and techniques for teaching music classes using elements of popular culture that resonate with students' everyday lives. From popular songs and genres to covers, mixes, and mashups; from video games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero to television shows like American Idol, this exciting collection offers pedagogical models for incorporating pop culture and its associated technologies into a wide variety of music courses. Biamonte has collected well-rounded essays that consider a variety of applications. After an introduction, the essays are organized in 3 sections. The first addresses general tools and technology that can be incorporated into almost any music class: sound-mixing techniques and the benefits of using iPods and YouTube. The middle section uses popular songs, video games, or other aspects of pop culture to demonstrate music-theory topics or to develop ear-training and rhythmic skills. The final section examines the musical, lyrical, or visual content in popular songs, genres, or videos as a point of departure for addressing broader issues and contexts. Each chapter contains notes and a bibliography, and two comprehensive appendixes list popular song examples for teaching harmony, melody, and rhythm. Two indexes cross-reference the material by title and by general subject. While written with college and secondary-school teachers in mind, the methods and materials presented here can be adapted to any educational level.
Nicole Biamonte is assistant professor of music theory at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal. She has published articles in Music Theory Online and Music Theory Spectrum and contributed to the forthcoming collection Rush and Philosophy. She serves on the editorial board of Music Theory Online.