Between a Rock and a Popular Music Survey Course: Technological Frames and Historical Narratives in Rock Music

David K. Blake


This essay contends that drastic changes to the production and circulation of popular music over the past decade necessitate a reevaluation of undergraduate popular music pedagogy. It argues that frames and narratives derived from rock music originally used for popular music courses beginning in the 1980s no longer reflect contemporary practices, risking anachronistic course designs that fail to account for student experience. Through a discussion of pedagogical strategy in my introductory undergraduate popular music course, I detail how a materialist perspective based on technological change can both account for student experience and teach rock (and other genres) as historically delimited popular music forms.


undergraduate; rock; hip-hop; critical pedagogy

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ISSN 2155-109X