"Ethnomusicology teaches a fundamental understanding of the diversity of human experience and expression across time and place."

Brian Hogan, Ph.D.
UCLA Ethnomusicology Alumnus
Specializations in African Music, African American Music, Jazz, New Media, Percussion, and Disability Studies

Brian Hogan, Ph.D.

UCLA Ethnomusicology Alumnus

Current Research Interests

  • Contemporary African Neo-traditional and Popular Music
  • Historical and Trends in African American Music
  • Style and Cultural Consciousness in Jazz
  • Ableism and Music
  • Ethnomusicology and the Drum Set
  • New Media in Theory and Practice

Philosophy of Teaching

Academic courses and performance classes about musical traditions from around the world, taught at all levels, teach a fundamental understanding of the diversity of human experience and expression worldwide. They foster a cross-cultural and often humanitarian awareness, while rigorously mapping and critiquing what music has been for humanity.

From this broadened perspective, students understand the music of their own daily soundscapes in relation to the richness and vast array of world musical cultures historically. Hints of these musical worlds have already reached students’ ears through global music networks, exposure we as professors and teachers often leverage to make our critical contextualization of music interface with students’ lived experiences, and ultimately to give our teaching greater resonance.

The challenge remains that while we can already significantly impact the learning experience of students who are either committed to learning or show a general aptitude for the subject matter, how do we generate an effective baseline for all students? How do we maintain the crisp clarity of the complex musical and cultural insights we have to offer, while ensuring that students who are struggling still walk away with both their general and specific schemas thoroughly stimulated?

While these questions are answered anew each quarter/semester, I believe that in order to make things “stick,” we must utilize multiple complimentary modes of representation to depict musical history, musical performance, and the complex of expressive practices that surround music making. My approach to teaching emphasizes the theoretical lineages of ethnomusicology and cultural anthropology as a kind of North star, pushing students to use them to triangulate their own relationship with the music being studied. Using my experience as a jazz drummer and classical/world music percussionist, I guide students through the experiential and kinesthetic aspects of world musical practice through videos, websites, applications, performances, participation, and musical training.

Featured Ethnomusicology

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Enemy Music

“Enemy Music: Blind Birifor Xylophonists of Northwest Ghana” Ph.D. Dissertation with New Media Companion, UCLA. 2011.

Gendered Modes of Resistance

“Gendered Modes of Resistance: Power and Women’s Songs in West Africa.” In The Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology. Vol. 13/Winter 2008.

Locating the Chopi Xylophone

“Locating the Chopi Xylophone of Southern Mozambique” In The Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology. Vol. 11/Winter 2006.

Featured New Media

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LightSail Energy

Built modern responsive PHP, JS, and MySQL driven website for a revolutionary green energy company.

Revolution in Design

Founded by Brian Hogan Ph.D., Revolution in Design is a new media company specializing in web technologies.


Front-end development and design of big data management web application for MIT MechE Alumnus Patrick Ho.

Featured Drumset & Percussion

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Orkestar Balkan

7-piece Bulgarian Jazz Band led by giada virtuoso Ivan Varimezov

Kakraba & Hogan

Percussion duo with S.K. Kakraba Lobi


Jazz trio performances with bassist Zack Stein and and keyboardist Sam Rosen

Cirriculum Vitae Highlights

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  • 2006-2011 Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Ethnomusicology
    Dissertation: “Enemy Music: Blind Birifor Xylophonists of Northwest Ghana”
  • 2004-2007 M.A., University of California, Los Angeles, Ethnomusicology
    Thesis: “Ethnomusicology and the Drumset: Musical Experience as an Emergent Quality of Performative Modalities”
  • 2000-2003 B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz, Anthropology
    Thesis: “When the Buzzing and Wailing Stops: The Enduring Elements of Traditional Birifor Funeral Xylophone Practices in Accra”
  • 2002 The School for International Training, Ghana
  • 1999-2000 Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • 1998 Certificate in Drumset Performance, Berklee College of Music

Honors & Awards

  • 2013 UCLA Nominee for the 2013-2014 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities/Fine Arts
  • 2006-2009 University Fellowship, UCLA (awarded three consecutive years)
  • 2006 International Institute Research Grant, UCLA
  • 2003 Highest Honors in the Anthropology Major, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • 2003 Honors for senior thesis in Ethnomusicology, University of California, Santa Cruz