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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Students study to be a DJ
John Moores University
The course will be available at John Moores University
Music fans will be able to study for a degree in pop from next academic year.

The three-year course at John Moores University, Liverpool, will examine the role of music in national identity, contemporary culture and the economy.


Our course will equip students with skills for both media and non-media employers but provides a more academic approach to pop music

Stuart Borthwick
The course will also give students the chance to learn how to be a disc jockey or a music producer.

In August last year, the then chief inspector for schools in England, Chris Woodhead, hit out at what he called "vacuous" degree courses.

Courses in golf course management, pig enterprise management, knitwear and beauty therapy added little or nothing to students' employment prospects, Mr Woodhead claimed.

'Academic approach'

But university authorities at John Moores said the popular music studies course would bring "an academic approach" to a subject that dominated many people's lives.

The course is headed up by Stuart Borthwick, who says artists like John Lennon and Bob Marley are often seen as the modern day equivalent of Shakespeare.

Chris Woodhead
Chris Woodhead expressed concern over "quasi-academic degrees"
"Their lyrics have the ability to reach out and connect with an audience in powerful and sometimes emotional way," he said.

The course was designed to allow students to get behind the facade of world stars to see what made them special, he said.

"There are some degrees in pop music available already but they tend to be performance-based, vocational courses which focus on getting jobs in the industry.

"Our course will, of course, equip students with skills for both media and non-media employers but provides a more academic approach to pop music," he said.

Liverpool link

Liverpool was an appropriate place to study pop, with its rich heritage of chart topping success, Mr Borthwick said.

"Earlier this year the Guinness Book of Records named Liverpool as the world's Number One Pop Music City," he said.

"With the launch of this new course we aim to make Liverpool the centre for the study of popular music in Britain."

The course will be available from next academic year.


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Devalued degrees?
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