Why schools of music are hypocritical

Schools of music are meant to teach classical music while other schools are meant to teach other styles of music.

The classical schools of music are now putting required pop music questions on exams, even at the doctoral level, which should be the most focused degree of all. But they don't provide the classes to give students that knowledge.

The reason schools of music have started asking questions about pop music  is to show that they embrace all types of music. In reality many teachers in private lessons are very quick to dismiss pop music. The few that are ok with it oftentimes only give their blessing to older pop like Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix.

The way for schools of music to show their embrace of pop and non-classical music would be to allow students who are interested in jazz and pop to explore it further in lessons and recitals, while leaving the students that care about classical music to study classical music.

Current curriculum don't allow for that to happen with the precision of the requirements for degree recitals.

For a school of music not to be hypocritical, it would need to match the curriculum with the exams questions. If pop music and jazz become exam requirements, the recital requirements should allow for those types of music to be integrated into recitals.

When recitals requirements are rigid about classical music, the exam questions should reflect that and stay within the knowledge and the given education of the students.

Picture from http://manvsdebt.com/big-fat-hypocrite/ 


  1. Thanks for posting your thoughts. It has been a concern of mine for quite some time. My brother, who just finished his DMA in Jazz Pedagogy, ran into the exact same problem on his Doctoral exams, but the other way around. He was required to know advanced-level music theory (into 20th century tone rows and set theory) and yet it had absolutely nothing to do with his jazz expertise. So backwards, especially at a high level. It would be so much better to let the doctors be doctors in their fields instead of asking them to pretend to know about something they don't.

  2. Jess, thanks for sharing your experience. It seems to me that it is a matter that really pertains to music, and that doctoral students in other fields such as science do get a more and more specialized education.
    I do think that it might not be a bad thing for pop music to be included a bit in music schools education, but at the undergrad level.
    I wonder what it would take for schools to take a step back and honestly consider what they are doing and whether it makes sense or not.

  3. Hey, I am possibly doing a research paper for my English Class and I really want to use this topic. I really liked what you said and I am wondering if you could send me some links to any resources to gather information about this topic?

    Sincerely, Chris Singer

  4. Hi Chris,

    I don't know what kind of resources there would be on that topic, but I would suggest checking for article son jstor.org if your school has a subscription with them. You might also find something in some professional periodicals on music or music ed at your school's library.

    Good luck!


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