Patrice Rushen chairs the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Although her early training was in classical music, she is a jazz pianist and R&B singer perhaps best known for her popular music of the ‘70s and ‘80s. A four-time Grammy nominee, Rushen has also composed scores for television and film.
Rushen was invited to Amherst College to talk about why USC started the Popular Music Program and how it fills an underserved artistic need in America.
The Popular Music Program first enrolled students in 2009, and Rushen joined as an artist-in-residence in 2010. She became chair of the program in 2013.
"We have the ear of the student who is capable of finding the balance between mastery and marketing, if we show them the proper order and how the two are not mutually exclusive," she said. "Our work in popular music education gives us the opportunity to contribute to the ideas and ideals of success."
Her talk, “Teaching Popular Music in Institutions of Higher Learning,” was recorded on April 10, 2017 at Amherst College.