Popular Music, Policy, and Education

Gareth Dylan Smith and Zack Moir

In: The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Policy


This chapter explores links between cultural, economic and education policy and music education, focusing mostly on the contexts of the United Kingdom and the United States. Taking a broad view of what constitutes policy, the authors discuss how ideology, tradition and innovation, as well as explicit policy-as-text documents, serve to encourage and inhibit the presence of popular music in schools and in higher education. The chapter describes the creation and rise of arts entrepreneurship in the neoliberal political environment of the late 1990s. It then switches to a discussion of the relationship between education policy and non-for-profit organizations. The authors describe how Eurocentric and colonial values pervade policy on music education before illustrating the influence of militarism and money on school music. The chapter concludes with the assertion that music teachers would benefit from more intentional engagement with policy.