Steve Holley is a music educator/bassist/author living in Boston, MA. Steve holds a Ph.D. in Music Learning and Teaching from Arizona State University as well as a B.M. and an M.M. in Jazz/Classical Bass Performance from the University of Memphis.

As a teacher, Steve previously served as the Producer for the Commercial Music Program at the Kent Denver School outside Denver, CO, for nineteen years. During his tenure, the R&B, soul, salsa, and jazz bands of the CMP were recognized by DownBeat magazine’s Student Music Awards fifteen times. The bands performed hundreds of gigs in the U.S. and abroad, held standing gigs at local clubs, performed on dozens of radio and television broadcasts, recorded at some of the most hallowed studios in the country, and performed with dozens of Grammy-caliber artists.

As a bassist, Steve has recorded on over 100 studio projects and has played over 10,000 gigs across the world in every style of music imaginable.

As a writer, Steve authored the book Coaching a Popular Music Ensemble: Blending formal, non-formal, and informal approaches in the rehearsal and co-edited Action-based Approaches in Popular Music Education—a text featuring chapters from 26 experienced popular music educators discussing their teaching approaches to the popular music learning space. 

Currently, Steve serves as the President of the Association for Popular Music Education. Steve and his family recently moved to Boston, MA, with their two rescue Boston Terriers, Matilda and Clementine. 

Research Interests

  • Blending traditional pedagogical techniques at the crossroads of popular/commercial music education in an effort to create a more culturally responsible, diverse, and inclusive learning culture
  • Utilizing non-traditional styles of music in the classroom, on the stage, in the recording studio, and in songwriting to build vocabulary, foster creativity, and develop confidence in students
  • A comparative analysis of best practices in popular music education in the US and the UK
  • Mentoring the next generation of music educators in an effort to further the paradigm shift occurring in music education
  • Collaborative songwriting in Memphis and Muscle Shoals
  • The trajectory of PME and the historical/pedagogical arguments in relation to jazz/traditional education


Steve Holley CV - updated July 2024

Steve Holley resume - updated July 2024