Assistant Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music Education
Henderson State University’s music education program has been producing outstanding teachers for decades, and that longstanding tradition continues today.
At some point in their studies, current and future music majors will encounter Shaun Popp, who supervises and helps place teacher interns. Popp is also assistant director of bands at Henderson and teaches several music courses.
Popp says music majors can expect to make many connections right away with their classmates and faculty.
“There’s a very personal connection,” he said. “Any incoming student can a expect a welcoming environment with faculty and students who are willing to help them along the way.”
Popp said the music faculty “expects a lot” out of the students.
“It’s a very challenging and difficult major,” he said. “Incoming students decide they want to major in music because they like to play in band or sing in the choir. When they get here, they realize that it’s a whole lot more than just playing their instrument or singing.
“There’s music history, music theory, piano and ear training. It can be very overwhelming, but you have to want it inside. And if you really want it, then you can do it. But you have to believe in yourself and you have to put in the time and effort and be very focused.”
Popp didn’t decide to major in music education until his senior year of high school. “I didn’t want to quit playing the saxophone,” he said. Popp auditioned and received a music scholarship.
“I love what I do. I really like the fact that at Henderson we have students majoring in music who want to be teachers and I have somewhat of an impact on them and their future career,” Popp said. “But I also like how we have just as many non majors who participate. Music doesn’t stop for them after high school graduation. They still have the opportunity to make music.”
As the market for music teachers continues to fluctuate, Popp remains optimistic.
“There are jobs out there,” he said. “Yes, music programs are being cut in some places. Still, there’s an ongoing need for music educators. Arts and humanities are still a part of the main core and state testing. As long as that continues, I think it will keep music in the schools.”
Popp said Henderson is constantly changing and adapting its curriculum to meet the needs of what education requires of professionals.
“Our students leave with a very good fundamental background of music and education,” he said. “I feel like they come out with a very broad spectrum of ideas and experience, and are prepared for success.”
Degree and School:
Ph.D. in Music Education with emphasis in Wind Band Conducting, Florida State University
Students with special needs
The use of Laban in music education
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