Once a week, students in USC Thornton’s revolutionary Popular Music Performance program take a break from their busy rehearsal and practice schedules for Popular Music Forum – a lecture series that brings some of the biggest names in the music industry to campus to address a wide range of special topics and issues confronting the popular musician today.
This year’s guests encompassed a variety of performers, producers and songwriters, including: Graham Nash; Earth, Wind & Fire; the Beach Boys; Smokey Robinson; Sheila E.; and Randy Jackson.
“The whole idea behind the forum was to bring in professionals from all aspects of the industry to talk about what they do,” said Chris Sampson, Vice Dean of Contemporary Music. “As the students hear all of these insights into the industry, they start to make up their own mind as to how they’re going to successfully navigate it.”
Throughout the course of each class, guest speakers provide an overview of their careers in music and answer questions from students about their individual artistic process, the struggles they face as artists, and how the music industry is evolving.
“My band and I have been able to put into use so many things that we’ve learned from Pop Forum,” explained Popular Music student Malia Civetz. “You learn so much from their experience.”
To get a taste of what Pop Forum is all about, check out the above video featuring clips from Earth, Wind & Fire’s visit to USC.