Music Professor’s Educational Videos Go Viral

March 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

What started as a way to address the short attention spans of today’s students has turned into an innovative method to engage people of all ages in learning more about music, its artists, and its history – in 10 minutes or less!

Dr. Gregg Akkerman, associate professor of music and director of jazz studies and commercial music at the University of South Carolina Upstate, has created and uploaded to YouTube© 40 video lectures on music topics originally designed for his online classes. To date, more than 31,000 viewers from across the globe have accessed his videos, the most popular being Motown and Soul music garnering over 5,000 viewers.

“I started using YouTube© for lectures in 2009 and saw that those videos got hits the same day they were uploaded,” said Akkerman. “I originally limited myself to 10-minute lectures because YouTube© didn’t allow video longer than that. Even with the increased time limits offered now, I still find the shorter lectures to be ideal for the attention span of college students.”

Intended for a general audience as a survey of artists and styles, the goal is to keep the content very concise and straightforward, no surplus or side stories, noted Akkerman.

Featuring artists and genres that have proven staying power over the decades, these video lectures are broken into digestible segments, he added.

“I have had comments from as far away as Ireland, South America and Eastern Europe,” said Akkerman. “People are very complimentary and thank me for giving them more insight into the music they love.”

Currently, there are series on The History of Rock and Music Business. They can be viewed at

The next series will relate to his upcoming book, “The Last Balladeer: The Johnny Hartman Story.”

“Johnny Hartman to me is the very voice of romance and is one of those singers that we’ve probably all heard somewhere, we just didn’t know him by name,” said Akkerman. “I was moved to tell his story and hopefully fill a gap in the history of traditional pop vocalists in American music.”

For more information about the book, due out this summer from Scarecrow Press, you can go to