Most of the responses were aboutit wasn’t fun’ orwe didn’t play music that I liked. “Because I had a traditional music education, I knew exactly how to create and maintain a competitive program for an orchestra or band, but it was clear that my students were not into it. In my first year, I focused on student retention and contacted students individually to find out what they didn’t like about their previous school that kept them out of St. Louis music classes. I talked to many of the musicians and asked them, “What would you have liked to have learned in a music class when you were in high school?” With this knowledge, I developed a curriculum to teach these skills, which gave me the idea to create a nonprofit called Modern Band Lab to create a place where teachers could find resources and materials to transform their music lessons. The first step was to identify out-of-school musicians and invite them and their friends to participate in the program not only as musicians, but in various related roles. Integration: the popular music education approach applies not only to all the different music groups – Warsity Symphony, Crusader Bands, Praise Band, Drumline – but also integrates with other arts programs such as film, dance and visual arts. Expensive LED equipment is scattered throughout the room to create a cool atmosphere, making the music room the coolest place on campus, encouraging students to come more often; they almost always find time to play or rehearse, cultivating an ongoing passion for music. The course curriculum is incorporated into a nonprofit organization called the Modern Band Lab to serve as a resource for other schools interested in bringing the popular music education and Modern Band Lab to their institutions. Part of Michael’s music program is to develop the nonprofit Modern Band Lab to offer this opportunity to schools in the same area as ours. Of course, we have students who have been accepted to top music schools such as Belmont University, Berklee College of Music, and the Eastman School of Music, or who are studying music technology and business. Instead of rows of chairs, the room is set up like a live music studio, with all the equipment hooked up and ready to go, to create an atmosphere where students can walk in and start playing. The next step was to make participation in the music program fun and interesting for all students. At the beginning of my semester, there were fewer than six students in the music program. At that point, I had developed an affinity for “popular music education,” and I wanted to explore this approach to make the music program more appealing and understandable to potential students. Students also organize “Music-On-The-Deck,” an open-air show with microphones on an outdoor stage during lunchtime on Fridays, where anyone on campus can perform. Students can put on a famous video or create their own, sometimes showing how music can be a catalyst for important social change and progress.