Tag Archives: Popular music

Interview with Lucy Green by Gareth Dylan Smith

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Coordinator

An Interview with Lucy Green

Lucy Green, Professor of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and author of How Popular Musicians Learn (2002) and Music, Informal Learning and the School: A New Classroom Pedagogy (2008) discusses research that sparked from a burning question. Listen and learn from this passionate music educator as she speaks with interviewer, Gareth Dylan Smith, author of I Drum, Therefore I Am (2013).


Sample of book reviews:

Music informal learning and the schoolMusic, Informal Learning and the School: A New Classroom Pedagogy

‘… this is a very important music education book, not only challenging established views and prejudices of music teaching, but also demonstrating how teachers could act to make a difference and work for change. Reading this book is a must for every music educator, not necessarily with the aim of copying every detail of the project, but to relate to, reflect and act upon in his/her ongoing music teaching. This project is also a very good example of praxis-based research. The thick descriptions and the sharp, well-structured analyses offer a great amount of valuable knowledge to researchers as well as educators.’ Music Education Research ‘… the sophisticated and methodical analysis that Green brings to this work is a helpful illumination that should empower, promote and extend the activity of music educators across our schools.’ Journal of Music Technology and Education

How popular musicians learnHow Popular Musicians Learn

‘… [a] stimulating book … lucid analysis … thought-provoking.’  Times Educational Supplement ‘Lucy Green’s latest book has been on the shelves for only a year or two, but already feels like a necessary part of music education literature … Returning to this book a year after I first read it, I have found new aspects of interest and value, as well as much which has quickly become familiar and helpful to educational discussion. Lucy Green has navigated the boundaries of academic disciplines and musical genres with great skill: I would recommend this book to any reader with an interest in musical learning …’  Popular Music

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Allan F. Moore shares his thoughts on the publishing process of his book Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song.

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Coordinator

In this post, Allan Moore shares his thoughts on the publishing process—from germ to publication—of his book Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song.


Song MeansSong Means was some ten years in the writing. It had its roots in my undergraduate music studies, where the requirement to ‘analyse’ a piece did not seem to me adequately answered, even then, by simple parsing of harmonies and description of form. The list of questions I generated in order to get further into a piece eventually, after much experience of teaching analysis, and notwithstanding the shift of application to a popular music repertoire, became the germ which generated the book, and which, in its latest guise, appears as the book’s final chapter. The success I had in teaching through this interrogative method encouraged me to want to share it with the community of readers: my first aim in writing the book was not, then, to contribute to the field as much as to contribute to the potential understanding of listeners. The serious consideration of listeners, however, is not something that musicology is very good at, while the serious consideration of what listeners listen to is not something that popular music studies excels in. As I wrote the book, then, I realized I had the potential opportunity to intervene in two distinct fields. Reviews and citations of the book suggest to me that this aim may come to be realized, although it is still a little too early (the book has been out less than three years) to tell. And, surprisingly, nobody has yet taken me to task for what, from my vantage-point, is the book’s particularly glaring omission, something I shall have to fill if it ever goes to a second edition.

I continue this binary for a moment, for there is a yet more important point to make: musicology, as a whole, regards popular music as musically too simplistic to bother with; popular music studies, as a whole, regards popular music as culturally too important to approach with techniques which risk charges of dread formalism. In both fields, experts tend to ground their expertise in the privileged access they believe this gives them to the music’s meaning. My other key intention was to argue, and provide a methodology to underpin the position that, whatever else experts are, they are not repositories of meaning.

I am fortunate indeed to have gained much experience in academic writing, which meant I was able to approach this book in a very different way to that which I used to approach my earliest books. If as an author you believe in what you are writing, then while you should seek guidance both before you start, and in rewriting once you have finished various drafts, I believe it is crucial that you do not seek guidance while you are writing, if your writing is in any way to be described as the result of a creative process. For this book, I was able to manoeuvre my other research activities and commitments such that I wrote a full, detailed, draft of the book before writing the proposal. This meant that the proposal had a convincing level of depth, which is missing from many book proposals I have seen. Since the job of the proposal is to convince publishers that they need to take on a book, the more fully formed your ideas are, the more they have been tried out (on the page, at least), the more committed you should be able to make your proposal. If you can so organize your time, I think this is far preferable to the practice of writing a  proposal and a couple of draft chapters and hoping you can fulfil their potential later on if called upon to do so.

The idea of writing being ‘enjoyable’ is something I find utterly strange! Writing is difficult, it’s a chore, and there are always innumerable things I would rather be doing. When I say ‘writing’ in this sense, I guess I mean inventing adequate words to put on paper in the first place. It is a completely different process to going through and re-writing, which I find inexplicably engaging and enjoyable. Sometimes my first pass has to be to put down any old rubbish, because it can always be improved on (you should have seen the way this paragraph first looked…). I must admit, though, I also find the process of relating my ideas to the music I hear to be fascinating, whichever actually comes first. And to be able to listen, to just about anything I choose to listen to, because I can eventually justify it as ‘work’, feels like the most extreme luck. I hope it doesn’t run out quite yet.

Allan F. Moore 2015


Allan MooreAbout the Author: Allan F. Moore is Professor of Popular Music at the University of Surrey. Author of seven monographs and edited collections, he is series editor for Ashgate’s Library of Essays in Popular Music, has been on the editorial board of Popular Music since 2000, and was founding co-editor of twentieth-century music. He has published nearly 100 articles and reviews in the field.

‘Song Means is an astonishing achievement, and an exceptionally important book. Drawing on more than 20 years of his own writing on popular music, but synthesising and developing it in a quite remarkable way, Allan Moore accomplishes what seems almost impossible: a completely engaging, beautifully clear, authoritative, and undogmatic account of musical meaning across a huge range of pop songs. Written in direct, accessible and uncomplicated language, but tackling fundamental questions of musical meaning and the nature of musical materials, the book is rooted in Moore’s own encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music set in a sophisticated conceptual framework. This is a landmark in the musicology of pop, and a book that will have a profound impact on how people think about, and understand, the most globally pervasive form of music of our times: the pop song.’   Eric F. Clarke FBA, Heather Professor of Music, St Aldate’s, University of Oxford, UK

‘Loading the Silence’ is joint winner of the Rebecca Coyle Prize

Posted by Maxine Cook, Marketing Assistant

Loading the silenceMany congratulations to Linda Ioanna Kouvaras, whose title, Loading the Silence: Australian Sound Art in the Post-Digital Age, has been awarded joint winner of the 2014 Rebecca Coyle Prize. This year the judges decided there were two titles worthy of the prize, resulting in a second 2014 publication prize being awarded to Loading the Silence. The panel described Loading the Silence as “a highly accomplished piece of scholarship – extensive, rich, complex, well written, and thorough.”

The prize is awarded annually, by the IASPM ANZ, to the best paper on popular music in Australasia. The prize is named in honour of long time IASPM ANZ member, Rebecca Coyle, to commemorate her work advancing popular music studies and mentoring emerging academic talent.

The book has previously received high praise in reviews:

“… Kouvaras has created a reference of vital importance, a book of international significance that is likely to be considered a seminal work in the study of sound art.”   Music Forum

“In Loading the Silence Linda Kouvaras does a real favour for those seeking to learn about and from the political sonicities of the avant garde of the 1970s and since. That she does so in the context of Australian musical practices makes the stories she tells all the more fascinating for those of us regrettably less familiar with that continent’s (sometimes “un-Australian”) experimentality. Refreshingly, Kouvaras’s critical curiosity embraces musical practices and places: the leaky sounds and voicings of women’s bodies, the hospital, the unwatery landscape itself… A convincing critical compendium is the result.”   George McKay, University of Salford, UK

Dr Linda Kouvaras is a Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, Australia.

Lucy Green’s “Music, Informal Learning and the School: A New Classroom Pedagogy”

‘If you want to teach popular music in schools then find out how successful popular musicians learn and apply these methods in the classroom. This blindingly simple insight has eluded much pedagogic practice to date. By innovatively theorising, demonstrating, and assessing the practical implementation of this, Lucy Green may have provided a manifesto for rebalancing classroom music teaching and setting it on a new and more fruitful track.’   John Sloboda, FBA. Keele University. Author of The Musical Mind

Music informal learning and the schoolLucy Green’s pioneering book, Music, Informal Learning and the School, reveals how the music classroom can draw upon the world of popular musicians’ informal learning practices, so as to recognize and foster a range of musical skills and knowledge that have long been overlooked within music education.

It investigates how far informal learning practices are possible and desirable in a classroom context; how they can affect young teenagers’ musical skill and knowledge acquisition; and how they can change the ways students listen to, understand and appreciate music as critical listeners, not only in relation to what they already know, but beyond.

It examines students’ motivations towards music education, their autonomy as learners, and their capacity to work co-operatively in groups without instructional guidance from teachers.

It suggests how we can awaken students’ awareness of their own musicality, particularly those who might not otherwise be reached by music education, putting the potential for musical development and participation into their own hands.

Bringing informal learning practices into a school environment is challenging for teachers. It can appear to conflict with their views of professionalism, and may at times seem to run against official educational discourses, pedagogic methods and curricular requirements. But any conflict is more apparent than real, for this book shows how informal learning practices can introduce fresh, constructive ways for music teachers to understand and approach their work. It offers a critical pedagogy for music, not as mere theory, but as an analytical account of practices which have fundamentally influenced the perspectives of the teachers involved.

Through its grounded examples and discussions of alternative approaches to classroom work and classroom relations, the book reaches out beyond music to other curriculum subjects, and wider debates about pedagogy and curriculum.

‘… this is a very important music education book, not only challenging established views and prejudices of music teaching, but also demonstrating how teachers could act to make a difference and work for change. Reading this book is a must for every music educator, not necessarily with the aim of copying every detail of the project, but to relate to, reflect and act upon in his/her ongoing music teaching. This project is also a very good example of praxis-based research. The thick descriptions and the sharp, well-structured analyses offer a great amount of valuable knowledge to researchers as well as educators.’ Music Education Research

‘Viewed altogether, the Musical Futures initiative, the empirical authority and depth of this project, and finally this compelling and excellent book, make a major contribution to music education. Music, Informal Learning and the School should be on the reading list of everyone who believes in the power of music to transform the lives of young people everywhere.’ Classroom Music Magazine

‘… an important book that chronicles the realities of taking seriously the values and views of adolescents as to their music and the ways in which they prefer to know it better. It gives pause for putting into practice what has been discussed and debated for some time in music education, and in education at large, and paves the way for further developments in making music reasonable and relevant for students in secondary schools.’ British Journal of Music Education

‘Apart from the teaching strategies and learning approaches demonstrated by Green, there is much here that music educators can use. … Music, Informal Learning and the School opens a discourse about music education that can only benefit music education as a whole. Books such as this rarely appear. If you have any passion for music education, this one will be for immediate consumption. Agreement is not compulsory; entering into the debate is.’ Research Studies in Music Education

About the Author: Lucy Green is Professor of Music Education in The Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

What can teachers learn from popular musicians? Watch Lucy Green in conversation with doctoral student Flávia Narita on Youtube

Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record – one of the best and most engaging books on phonography and/or recording formats in recent years

‘…this book is actually one of the best and most engaging books on phonography and/or recording formats in recent years.’ 2013 IASPM Book Prize Jury

‘Hats off to the excellent Richard Osborne for producing a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable romp through the musical history of polyvinyl chloride… The author has produced a valuable collection of sound bites and snapshots of what the 20th century sounded like.’ Times Higher Education

‘… a well-written and thoroughly engaging précis of vinyl’s journey from its origins to its constantly shifting presence throughout the 20th Century.’ Record Collector

‘… Richard Osborne has just released the most perfect book: a history of vinyl that does not neglect aesthetic or interpretative considerations, but focuses also on hard facts, and pays attention to technology, and economics… Osborne’s book proves a fascinating and essential read, and an elegant one at that.’ InMedia

OSBORNE JKT(240X159)Richard Osborne traces the evolution of the vinyl record from its roots in the first sound recording experiments, to its survival in the world of digital technologies. His book addresses the record’s relationship with music: how the analogue record was shaped by, and helped to shape, the music of the twentieth century. It also looks at the cult of vinyl records. Why are users so passionate about this format? Why has it become the subject of artworks and advertisements? Why are vinyl records still being produced?

Of all recording formats, it is the vinyl record that has had the most profound effect on the production and consumption of popular music; vinyl has also had the longest-lasting and deepest appeal. This book explores its subject using a distinctive approach: the author takes the vinyl record apart and historicizes its construction. Each chapter explores a different element and brings a fresh perspective to each of the themes: the groove, the disc shape, the label, vinyl itself, the album, the single, the B-side and the 12″ single, the sleeve.

About the Author: Richard Osborne is the programme leader for the popular music degrees at Middlesex University. He has published work on the themes of music technology, minstrelsy, alarms, Indian film and The Fall.

More about Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record