Learning-practices of popular musicians are a prominent theme in Western music education literature; however, there appears to be a shortage of such literature in Asian countries. With the aim of comparing East and West, a qualitative study was conducted to investigate the learning-practices and involvement in music of Hong Kong popular musicians. Since Hong Kong is a former British colony, the study intended to investigate whether these practices resembled Western practices, or if they were derived from elements indigenous to Hong Kong. Interviews and observations of the informants’ performances and rehearsals were used to obtain data. It was found that all the informants learned mainly in an informal way and participated actively in music-making – similar to the Western popular music-making scenario – but the shadow of the mentor–apprentice learning relationship inherent in Chinese culture also appeared. Lastly, achievement-driven motivation in learning, which is prevalent in Chinese society, was also found among the informants in the present study. This may not be a significant finding in the context of popular music generally, but it is an issue in which Asian educators may be interested. Copyright © 2014 Cambridge University Press.