Investigate the cultural, historical and financial sides of the music industry by exploring the worlds of creative fandom and studying how music intersects with society and politics.

This course is an introduction to the study of popular music and to the contemporary music industry, taking students beyond passive pop consumption to become active consumers of pop culture. Students will learn to apply critical tools to understanding pop songs, and also gain an interpretive framework in understanding how songs are made, are shaped by factors like copyright and technology, and impact society at large.

Starting with what students already know – the songs they love – they will then investigate the cultural, historical and financial sides of music and the music industry through discussions and readings. Participants will study all of this in the context of New York City, one of the most vibrant and important musical capitals in the world, having in-depth discussions with artists and leaders from the business. The goal of this course is to help students get started on a lifetime of exploring music as well as help them uncover pathways to working in the music industry.

Course Highlights

Summer Academy enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional futures. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

• The course will teach students to move beyond the question of what music is “good,” to instead question how markets are shaped, how tastes are formed and how stars are born.

• Students will hear firsthand about the inner workings of the music industry from guest speakers in the business.

• Students will learn how to collaborate and write critically about the craft of songwriting and music production by studying samples, musical references and production styles.

• Site visits will vary based on the instructors and terms. Previous courses have visited: Central Park SummerStage, Spotify’s New York Headquarters, Sony/ATV, Brooklyn Museum's “David Bowie is” exhibit and locales associated with music production and the industry. Students will also have the opportunity to visit The New York Times newsroom and/or The Times printing press.

• Speakers and lecturers will vary with the instructors and terms. Previous speakers include: Dahlia Ambach-Caplin (Record Executive, Verve Music Group), Madison McFerrin (Independent Singer & Songwriter), Jordan Wolowitz and Tom Russell of Founders Entertainment (creators of Governors Ball), Michelle Sullivan (Industry Consultant & Co-Founder, The Manifesto) and Steve Greenberg (S-Curve Records).

Please note: All information is subject to change at the discretion of The School of The New York Times.

Cost and Session Information

  • PRICE $5,225* ($5,825* for residential students)
  • DATES Term 3: July 5 - July 17
  • TYPE Intensive
  • LOCATION New York City

*Listed program costs do not include course-specific lab and materials fees. Learn more on our website.

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