The Grammys | GRAMMY.com
There’s never been a better time to be a music-loving college student.
From the middle to late school years, more and more academic institutions are offering courses dedicated to major musical acts. In the late aughts, rap maverick Jay Z made headlines after becoming the subject of a course at Georgetown University taught by Michael Eric Dyson, a sociologist and best-selling author Jay-Z: Made in America. In Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z, students analyzed the life, socio-cultural significance, and work of Hova.
It’s easy to see why students are drawn to these courses – which fill up quickly and are often one-off offers. The intertwining of celebrity and sociology presents fertile ground to explore, and often makes for lively social media posts that can be a boon to enrollment numbers. For example Beyhivers participating in the University of Texas at San Antonio offered the opportunity to study the basics of black feminism beyonce‘S lemonade in 2016. Meanwhile Rutgers offered a course dedicated to the analysis of the spiritual themes and images in Bruce Springsteens catalogue.
Luckily for students craving a spot on these coveted courses, institutions across the country are constantly launching new seminars and courses on famous pop stars and popular music genres. Out of bad bunny To Harry StylesThe following list of popular music courses has something for every music fan going to college.
From his top hits to his legal work, Bad Bunny has been making waves on and off the stage since rising to fame in 2016. Now, San Diego State University graduate students can explore the cultural influence of the global superstar in an upcoming 2023 course.
“He talks about Puerto Rico; he speaks about the victims of the Uvalde shooting and uses his platform to raise money and help them.” called dr Nate Rodriguez, SDSU Associate Professor of Digital Media Studies. “How does he speak out against transphobia? Does he support the LGBTQ community? How does it all happen? So yeah, it’s very relevant to journalism and media and cultural studies. It’s all mixed up into one.”
A deep dive into Taylor Swift’s lyrics
Analyze Taylor Swift‘s writing is a favorite pastime among Swifties, so it’s fitting that her work and feminist themes have been the focus of a number of university courses over the years.
In the spring of 2022, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University launched an offering focused on the “Anti-Hero” singer’s development as an entrepreneur, race and female youth. The waitlisted course — the very first for the institution — drew a lot of media attention and Swift received an honorary doctorate from NYU in 2022.
In the spring of 2023, honors students at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, will be able to analyze the music and career of the 12-time GRAMMY winner in a seminar entitled Culture and Society – Taylor Swift.
Kendrick Lamar’s Storytelling and the Power of Hip-Hop
Since falling Good boy mAAd City in 2012, Kendrick Lamar has inspired a number of academics to develop courses and seminars around his poetry and storytelling, including a English class which contrasted his work with that of James Baldwin and James Joyce.
Concordia University recently announced that the 16-time GRAMMY winner will be the focus of The Power of Hip Hop, It’s Bigger Than Us, a course exploring the lyrical themes of Lamar’s work, including loyalty, fatherhood, class and racial injustice examined.
“No artist addresses this ethos louder and more complicated than King Kunta, the Prince of Compton, Kendrick Lamar, 10 years later Good boy mAAd City dropped,” called Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman, the Montreal hip-hop artist and Concordia professor who developed the course, which will start in winter 2023. “He showed us that it’s okay to work on yourself in front of the world and find yourself inside, that family always comes first, that community and collective missions are central to growth, and that sometimes you break free must.”
EDM production, techniques and applications
If you dream of hearing your own EDM tracks played à la at a huge music festival marshmello, Steve Aok And SkrillexThe All-in-One Course at Berklee College of Music in Boston has you covered. Learn about the cultural origins of different EDM styles—like techno, trance, drum and bass, and more—and the techniques artists use to achieve these sounds.
Between thought-provoking cultural seminars, students receive instruction in operating the technologies needed to create their own EDM masterpieces, including synthesizers, digital audio workstations (DAWs), and samplers.
Harry Styles and the cult of celebrity
While many celebrity-focused courses focus on sociology, the Harry’s house The singer/songwriter inspired his own digital history course at Texas State University in San Marcos: Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet and European Pop Culture.
Dr. Louie Dean Valencia, developed during lockdown, will explore Styles’ music alongside issues of gender, sexual identity and class – but the singer-songwriter’s private life is off-limits. Stylers lucky enough to snag a spot on this first-ever college course dedicated to their sweetheart can expect to revisit One Direction’s homework catalogue.
“I have always wanted to teach a history class that is fun but also covers a time that students experienced and that they can relate to,” wrote Dr. Valencia in a Twitter post. “By studying the art, activism, consumerism and fandom surrounding Harry Styles, I think we’ll be able to get to some very relevant contemporary issues. I think it’s so important that young people see what’s important to them reflected in their curriculum.”
Global Hip-Hop Culture(s): Hip Hop, Race and Social Justice from South-Central to South Africa
Since its inception, hip-hop has made a lasting impact on the world, influencing language, fashion, storytelling, and more. At the University of California, Los Angeles, students can learn how the art form has shaped young minds while analyzing the diverse hip-hop scenes around the world.
As part of the mission to establish the university as a premier center for hip hop studies, UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies launched a hip hop initiative with an artist-in-residence program, digital archives and a number of postdoctoral fellowships. Chuck Dthe founder of the groundbreaking hip-hop group public enemywas selected as the first artist-in-residence.
“As we celebrate 50 years of hip-hop music and cultural history, the in-depth study of culture provides us with a wealth of intellectual insight into the massive social and political impact of black music, black history and black people on global culture – from language, dance, visual arts and fashion to electoral politics, political activism and more”, called Associate Director H. Samy Alim, who leads the initiative.
The music of the Beatles
With their catchy two-minute pop hits, ornate record covers, headline-grabbing fads and groundbreaking use of studio technology, the Fab Five are among the most influential acts in music history. No wonder, then, that they are the subject of courses at many colleges and universities.
Boston’s Berklee College of Music offers The music of the Beatles, which covers both the group’s work and the music they have written for other acts. Alternatively, if you are more interested in her post-breakup work, The Beatles’ solo careers dives into this effort. Meanwhile, the University of Southern California takes a look at their music, careers, and influence in The Beatles: Their Music and Time.
Symbolic sisters: Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu
Whether you want to learn about the craft, management, building a career, or marketing your work, NYU’s Clive Davis Institute offers an impressive curriculum for musicians and artists. With seminars on the works of prince, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartneyand J. Dilla, a unique duo stands out: Erykah Badu And Amy Winehouse.
This two-point seminar portrays the pair as “symbolic sisters” and explores and compares how each singer has fused different genres and styles to forge her own magnetic sound. Winehouse is known for her retro spin on the sounds of Motown and Phil Spector and rebellious styling. A decade before the “Back to Black” singer hit the mainstream, Badu – who is credited as one of Winehouse’s influences – rose to stardom thanks to her seamless blend of jazz, R&B and hip-hop and her captivating urban-bohemian style for singers like SZA And Ari Lenox.
From rising to the forefront of the male-dominated Tejano genre to helping bring Latin music into the mainstream, Selena QuintanillaThe woman’s effects can still be felt decades after her untimely death. artist incl Selena GomezDemi Lovato, Victoria “La Mala” Ortiz, Becky G and Beyoncé cite GRAMMY-winning Queen of Tejano as an influence.
Over the years, her legacy and cultural influence have been the focus of dozens of college courses. 2023, Duke University continues this tradition with Selena: Music, Media and the Mexican American Experience. The course will examine the life, career and cultural influence of the beloved Tejano singer.
The Art of Punk: Sound, Aesthetics and Performance
Since its emergence in the 1970s, punk rock has been considered a divisive, politically charged music genre. His unique visual style — which can include leather jackets, tattoos, chunky boots, and colorful hair — was embraced by the mainstream in the ’90s, where it continues to thrive (much to the chagrin of hardcore punks everywhere). Over the decades, dozens of subgenres have emerged and burst into the limelight — including riot grrrl and pop-punk — but few have left the impact of the classic ’70s punk sound and its anti-establishment themes.
If you want to learn more about the genre that inspired bands like Nirvana, check out Stanford University The Art of Punk Seminar exploring the visual and sonic origins of the genre, as well as its development and connections to race, class and gender.
Meet Me @ The Altar reveal the 4 badass artists who inspired their debut album Past // Present // Future