American Popular Music
(MUS 1376)


This course will cover the development of American popular music from its early days before the American Civil War up to today’s styles. Along with the excellent and easy-to-understand textbook, there will teaching american popbe a great deal of listening to the music of all styles of pop music and their influences, discussion of the creators and artists behind the songs, as well as viewing important video footage chronicling the history and development of this unique art form.


Goals of the Course

The goal of this class is to help develop an appreciation for the popular music of the past and to provide a context for the music we listen to today. Some of the material presented in this course will be new, but with a solid perspective on all the styles of music we cover, both familiar and unfamiliar, the student will be a more discerning listener to our great popular music.

The Teacher

Dr. John Irish, of the Department of Art & Music, teaches this course. A veteran, professional performer in numerous big bands and other popular musical styles, he is able to bring extensive practical knowledge to the course. Fascinating, behind-the-scenes knowledge of the subject, lots of great music and an in-depth look at musicians and groups of all eras of popular music will provide a very interesting perspective of America's great popular music. He has also taught courses on the History of Jazz, the American Musical Theater, a Survey of Rock and Roll, as well as an Introduction to Music.

Engaging Activities

Expanding beyond the classroom, we have attended live performances of blues and jazz in downtown San Angelo, written songs with a nationally-acclaimed singer/songwriter, authored lyrics to songs, as well as explored the instruments, music, and forms of rock and jazz. In May, 2011, the class visited a prominent site in the world of rock and roll: the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock. Here is a photo of the class having a good time at the Center.

group at Holly Center






Recorded Lectures

As an aid to study, I have recorded lectures from each chapter which are meant to supplement your reading and listening. You will find them under the LECTURES tab on the Blackboard site. I have also included other short recordings and text examples on various subjects relating to the course. They will be of help to you so please check them out under the COURSE HELPampop pianoS tab.






Important Skills and Knowledge of the Course

Important general information on the course is given by the author of our text. Included here are highlights of the areas of knowledge and skills the student should acquire:

Sample Syllabus

Link to the Blackboard log-in site where the course is offered (current ASU students only).

This course is often offered during the May-mester.
Click here for a Sample Syllabus for May-mester.