New KPU course delves into work of popular musicians

Instructor says icons show us the potential within ourselves

Pifanida / The Runner

“We come out of the womb singing with our heartbeat; we are musicians the second we enter the world,” says Jodi Proznick, the instructor of a new course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University called the History of Popular Music.

Proznick believes that music is “one of the greatest tools in creating connections and transcendent thought,” and can “positively transform situations and mindsets.” It was this viewpoint on the power of music that led her to create this unique course which “teaches students the history and impact that music and popular figures surrounding it has had over time.”

“Music is a universal language that can touch us on the deepest of levels,” claims Proznick. “So much of our identities we tie into the music that we like.” As part of her class, students are said to learn and gain insight on the roles that music has had in areas such as “technology and business.”

The course itself “primarily focuses on American music” and deals with a broad range of genres such as “rock, hip-hop and psychedelic.”

Proznick, who herself works “primarily as a jazz musician,” is a well-known face to many in the Lower Mainland. She says that her biggest claim to fame was that her record was nominated for a Juno in 2008.

Proznick hopes students will gain an appreciation for “genres outside of what they already like,”  and see iconic figures in music as positive role models that any of them can be like.

She states that icons such as Madonna and David Bowie “do outlandish things unapologetically and it makes us all less afraid to be ourselves. That’s their gift to us . . . in these artists we see our own potential, and that’s why we get so excited about them.”

“Madonna is no different from any person in the room, she just made the decision to be Madonna,” says Proznick. “Students should ignore the voices telling them that they are not enough. These characters in pop music are an invitation to all of us to be authentically and unapologetically ourselves.”

Proznick elaborates, however, that “many feel the need to worship these icons” and that “we need to stop looking at celebrities as figures that we cannot ever be like. They’re human beings . . . the intention is not to separate ourselves from these people but see ourselves in them.”

Proznick hopes that this course will be offered in many semesters to come and on different campuses. She recommends that anyone should take the course, while “people who really love music would get a lot of it.”

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