Share Your Passion


Pop Ensemble: Play, Teach, Understand


Online courses are held from June 10 through August 2, 2019.

Dates for on-campus courses vary; please check each course's page for specific dates.

Online Course Registration Deadline:
May 31, 2019
2019 Summer Tuition:
3-Credit Courses: $1,020
1-Credit Courses: $340
Course times:
3-Credit Courses:
Monday–Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
2-Credit Courses:
Monday–Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
1-Credit Courses:
Monday–Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pop Ensemble: Play, Teach, Understand

Incorporating popular music into the school music program is becoming, well...more popular. This course is designed for teachers interested in creating opportunities for students to develop and exercise musicianship within pop-based performing ensembles at the middle- and high-school levels. Throughout the course, you'll learn strategies for fostering pop ensembles informed by core principles of quality instruction, an exploration of what defines (or doesn't) popular music, and most importantly, experiences playing in pop ensembles. Everyone will spend a significant amount of individual and group time playing throughout the week, so you are sure to come away with an approach to pop pedagogy that you can adapt and implement in your school. Music teachers with limited background in pop styles and instrumentation (i.e., guitar, electric bass, drum set, keyboard) are especially welcome to enroll.

Instructor: Rick Palese

Palese,_Rick_Headshot_Sp16Rick Palese (BMEd '03, MMEd '08) is a PhD candidate in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin, serving as an Academic Assistant in the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. He is also involved with the University of Texas String Project, one the most significant teacher training and string instrument instruction programs of its kind in American colleges and universities. Prior to his arrival in Texas, Palese earned both his BMEd  and MMEd degrees at VanderCook College of Music, where he was honored with the Esprit de Corps award on three separate occasions, and graduated as Senior Salutatorian.

Palese began his teaching career at Prairie Hill School in Cary, IL, directing 5th and 6th grade bands, and sponsoring  jazz and podcasting clubs from 2003-2010. He worked with the Cary Education Foundation to secure a grant, commissioning the work Colliding Visions by Brian Balmages.

In 2010, Palese returned to VanderCook as administrative faculty, serving as the Director of Continuing Education and the Director of Student Teaching, and co-taught technology in music education courses.

Palese has presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and Illinois Music Education Association conferences, taught at the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, and presented a number of continuing education courses in VanderCook’s MECA program. His professional memberships include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the National Association for Music Education, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Vic Firth Education Team. As an active performer and educator, Palese is passionate about teacher education, learning strategies, curriculum design, applications of music technology, and models of popular music education in schools.

Course Details

Instructor: Rick Palese
3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,020, due in full with registration    
Course Code: 6539
Dates: June 17-21, 2019
Location: VanderCook, room: TBD
Required text(s):
VanderCook will provide all text(s).

VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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