Music & Music Ed Doc Students Gather for PD on Writing for Journal Publications

by Linda Flores

On a balmy summer evening after hours of classes, a small group of Music and Music Education doctoral cohort students gathered together to hear Dr. Mary Hafeli, Professor of Art and Art Education, in one of the Professional Development workshops hosted by Music Ed Lecturer Dr. Jeanne Goffi-Fynn.

Professor Mary Hafeli

Professor Mary Hafeli

Dr. Hafeli regularly speaks to students about professional development in the arts on topics such as giving conference presentations and gaining promotion and tenure. This evening, Dr. Goffi-Fynn invited her to talk generally about submitting manuscripts for publication, an activity that is paramount in the lives of scholars and academics. Music Ed professor Dr. Harold Abeles helped present information specific to publishing in music and music education journals.

First, Dr. Hafeli went over the basic points of submitting publications. Publications are important in increasing a scholar’s visibility and they can expect to receive detailed feedback from reviewers. Some students were surprised to learn that manuscripts must be submitted at least a year in advance of publication and writers can only submit to one journal at a time.

But how does a scholar choose which journals are right for their paper? Dr. Hafeli explained the many factors that should be considered: a journal’s mission, scope, orientation (empirical, theoretical, historical, etc.), audience (researchers vs. practitioners) visibility, and reputation are all factors that scholars must carefully weigh before selecting journals to which they should submit their papers. Dr. Abeles advised students to read recent issues of journals they are thinking of submitting to gauge if their paper will match the writing and research style of each journal.

Each attendee then received a handout of various scholarly journals which Dr. Abeles and Dr. Hafeli went over in more depth. The Journal of Research in Music Education (JRME) is decidedly the top journal in the field of Music and Music Education, with more jargon and a long review process. Professors Randall Allsup and Kelly Parkes from our own Music Ed program are on the review board. Dr. Abeles and Dr. Hafeli went over each of the related journals in music education as well as general education journals and specialized music journals.*

Next, Dr. Hafeli walked the students through the submission process. All specific guidelines regarding page and word limits, formatting style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), figures and tables, and cover letters must be followed meticulously. She offered detailed tips on how to maximize each component of the paper: the introduction, literature review, methodology, data, analysis, interpretation/discussion, conclusion, and references. The writing style should be active and engaging, avoiding jargon and a passive voice. Perhaps even more useful, Dr. Hafeli related all the many reasons papers might be declined by a journal.

Students surely had a lot of new information to think upon following this informational presentation. Dr. Goffi-Fynn remarked, “I think the event was very well received.”

Doctoral student Jarritt Sheel was one of the attendees who gained several takeaways. He stated, “Dr. Hafeli and Dr. Abeles both shared a lot of really great information about publishing and academic writing… The idea that we should…check what journals might have been most frequently mentioned/cited is a novel idea, and one that I will appropriate. The information I gained from this presentation by Dr. Hafeli will help me collage my current educational experiences (engaging in research for class) and my own personal teaching experiences into a publication(s) this year.”


*Related Journals:

  • Music Education Research
  • Philosophy of Music Education Review
  • Council for Research in Music Education Bulletin
  • Psychology of Music
  • Music Educators Journal
  • International Journal of Research in Choral Singing
  • String Research Journal
  • Arts Education Policy Review
  • Journal of Aesthetic Education
  • Journal of Teacher Education