From APME Founding Board Member David Lee Fish:

In early 2009, I contacted Irwin Kornfeld, CEO of In Tune Monthly magazine, to chat with him about an idea I had. My idea sprung from the isolation I had felt in building the degree program in popular music at Catawba College. There was no equivalent to the National Association for Jazz Education in popular music education. I felt such a group could be an important asset for the discipline.

As I put it to Irwin, the established colleges/universities in the field of popular music had never even come together to “compare notes” from what I could tell. He immediately saw the value in such a summit and suggested approaching the College Music Society (CMS) to host the event. In my application to CMS, I wrote:

“It would constitute the first-ever summit of representatives from colleges and universities already experienced in teaching popular music. The gathering would allow us to compare notes on a wide range of pertinent topics, assess the field as it existede, and together begin to chart a collective future for popular music in higher and K-12 education”.

CMS agreed to host the event as part of their Music Education Week in June, 2010 in Washington, DC.  After receiving the approval of CMS, Irwin and I spent the months leading up to the event identifying participant schools. It wound up being a “needles in the haystack” search. As we learned, only about a dozen schools had programs of study in popular music among the approximately 2500 American four-year colleges and universities. We were delighted that every school that we were able to identify accepted our invitation to attend the conclave.

The CMS Summit on Popular Music Education was held for two days in June 2010. The following individuals represented their organizations:

Jeff W Cline, University of Memphis
Judith Coe, University of Colorado Denver
Gary Erickson, Greenville College
David Lee Fish, Catawba College
Darla Hanley, Berklee College of Music
Irwin Kornfeld, In Tune Partners
Steven Lipman, Berklee College of Music
Warren Pettit, Contemporary Music Center
Raul Murciano, Uniiversity of Miami
Jeffrey Rabhan, New York University
Chris Sampson, University of Southern California
Henry Smiley, Belmont University
Cliff Wittstruck, McNally Smith College of Music

One participant later described the summit as a “love fest.” Indeed, the initial get-together was so positive that the participants agreed to meet again in the fall at Berklee College of Music in Boston to formally gather as an organization.