Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Stage fright and mental ghosts: managing stage fright as a growth process

William: I played in a violin recital a couple of weeks ago. I had played the music many times before but in that concert I really messed up my finger work passages – one in particular – and then I started feeling that my memorization was shaky. I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t wait to finish. I cannot figure this out. I feel haunted that it is going to happen again and again.

JJN: This sounds terribly upsetting – both your concerns about your playing and your worries about trying to figure it out on your own and not being able to do that. Has this kind of thing happened before? Do you typically try to figure things out on your own?

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10 questions with composer Sarah Quartel

Sarah Quartel is a Canadian composer, conductor, and educator known for her fresh and exciting approach to choral music. Her music is performed by children and adults around the world, and celebrates the musical potential of all learners by providing singers access to high quality and engaging repertoire. We spoke with Sarah about why she composes, how she approaches writing, and the pieces that mean the most to her.

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10 facts about cymbals

Cymbals are a highly versatile instrument of ancient origin. In the West, they have been used not only in orchestral music, but also in jazz and popular music. From being played very quietly to making a striking splash in the orchestra, composers and musicians have found the instrument to be widely adaptable.

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Revisiting Broadway’s forgotten genius

Born into poverty in Richmond, Virginia, John Latouche (1914-1956) even as a youth established himself as both a rascal and a genius. After dropping out of Columbia his sophomore year (but not before scandalizing the university with his risqué lyrics to the school’s 1935 Varsity Show, Flair-Flair: The Idol of Paree), he won a coterie of devoted admirers among New York’s artistic elite for his witty and suggestive cabaret songs.

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Wielding wellness with music

The intersection between music and health occurs on a continuum of care ranging from the personal use of music to “feel better”, to professional music therapy work. While music therapists may work more often in the professional end of the continuum, our experiences and knowledge as clinicians and scholars provide us a unique perspective on […]

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A Q&A with composer David Bednall — part 1

David Bednall is Organist of the University of Bristol, Sub Organist at Bristol Cathedral and conducts the Bristol University Singers. He has a busy career as a composer also, and has published many works. In this occasional series we ask Oxford composers questions based around their musical likes, influences, and challenges. We spoke with David about his composing habits, and his most difficult work to write.

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The 21st Century Music Curriculum- Why Guitar?

In her keynote speech at Vision 2020: The Housewright Symposium on the Future of Music Education held at Florida State University in 1999, composer Libby Larson shared the story of her daughter’s experience playing saxophone in middle school band.

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An insight into choral singing in the UK [infographic]

Some say it is the effect of Gareth Malone’s TV programme The Choir, others claim that it is a result of research pointing to the many health benefits to singing in a choir; whatever the cause, it is undeniable that choral singing in the UK has seen something of a renaissance in recent years. Explore this infographic to find out more about the state of choral singing in the UK.

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Reflections on music’s life lessons

I find myself reflecting upon my own experiences in music as a student, a piano teacher, a performer, a psychologist and a psychoanalyst. How did I get from “then” to “now”? Who assisted me along my winding journey? Do you ever wonder these things about yourself?

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Five things you didn’t know about “Over the Rainbow”

“Over the Rainbow,” with music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. “Yip” Harburg, is one of the most beloved songs of all time, especially as sung by Judy Garland in her role as Dorothy Gale in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz.  The song itself is familiar all over the world. But some things […]

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Involving kids in music: a lifelong gift

“My status as a musician hasn’t been a large part of my public identity since the beginning of high school. I took lessons and practiced at home, and that was it. But even that yielded other, more private lessons that my flute seemed to teach me. Those lessons will stay with me for much longer,”

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Singing resistance on the border

At an early age, Américo Paredes was preoccupied with the inexorable passing of time, which would leave an imprint in his academic career. Devoting his academic career to preserving and displaying Mexican-American traditions through thorough analysis and recording of folk-songs, it is clear that Paredes kept his focus on beating back the forces of time and amnesia. Indeed, Paredes’ lessons are still very much relevant today.

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Should bluegrass go to college? yes

On July 5, 2017, Ted Lehmann’s weekly bluegrass column in No Depression asked this provocative question: Bluegrass goes to college, but should it? Through deft turn of phrase, Lehmann hints that the answer may be no, and that perhaps both the music’s historical integrity and today’s aspiring performers might not be best served via the college route.

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