Grammy-nominated music educator Steve Holley 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 15 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.

He is a sought after bassist and clinician with performances, master classes, and presentations given at dozens of state, national, and international conferences. As a writer, Holley has penned numerous articles for the National Association of Music Education, the Association for Popular Music Education, and the Jazz Education Network. He 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 articles from 26 experienced popular music educators discussing their practice. Currently, he serves as the Vice President for the Association for Popular Music Education and is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Learning and Teaching at Arizona State University where his research focuses on how the experiences of the professional musician impact and influence their teaching practice in popular music learning spaces. 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 April 2023