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Gareth Dylan Smith, Educator

I am Manager of Program Effectiveness at Little Kids Rock, where every day I work with colleagues to transform lives by restoring, expanding and innovating music education in US schools. I am President of the Association for Popular Music Education, and Chair of the International Society for Music Education’s Popular Music Education Special Interest Group.

I am an entrepreneurial educator, musician and scholar, and an acknowledged thought leader in music education. I am pioneering pedagogue, an expert professional performer, and committed to designing and implementing innovative, relevant music teaching, learning, and assessment. I am a staunch advocate of inclusion in school music, and of bringing popular music into schools. I believe passionately in providing access for all children to meaningful, life-affirming music-making experiences. I advocate valuing and celebrating the music of all, and in bringing out children’s (and adults’) musical creativities through active engagement in music performance, improvisation and composition.

As a guest speaker, I am frequently invited to talk to audiences of music educators and music education students in the US and Europe about popular music in schools and higher education. I am at the vanguard of the contemporary punk pedagogy movement, aimed at empowering and enabling individuals, especially those who are silenced, side-lined and ignored.

As one born to relative privilege and abundant opportunities, I am driven to help others succeed.


Subjects/courses/modules I have taught in higher education include but are not limited to:

Sociology of music
History of popular music
Research skills
Research in music education
Sociology of music education
Philosophy of music education
Cultural studies
Performance as Research
Drum kit performance
Ensemble skills
Popular music performance styles
Music theory
Music culture, criticism and context

I have been privileged to teach or to give invited lectures at:

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education

Columbia University, Teachers College
University of Michigan
University of London, Institute of Education 
New York University
University of Southern California
Case Western Reserve University

University of Westminster
Florida International University
Teesside University
Ithaca College

Bergen Community College
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Foundations for Excellence 
Little Kids Rock
Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

Prior to working in higher education, I spent 10 years teaching classroom music at state-funded and independent schools. I have taught Reception (Kindergarten) through to high school and further education. For over twenty years I have taught drums, clarinet, guitar and music theory.


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