College Music Symposium

Submission Guidelines

Symposium charges NO FEES to authors for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials.

College Music Symposium is a double-blind refereed academic journal that publishes scholarship and research, comprehensive review articles, forums, and individual reviews, including those of books, periodicals, audio, video, technologies, and online resources. Symposium also publishes, with transcriptions, Performances, Lectures, Lecture-Recitals (PLL) that have been captured on video. Accepted PLL items are also reviewed in the Journal. The Symposium issues are officially released twice a year in pdf/JSTOR format, Summer/Fall and Winter/Spring. Upon invitation, the journal may also publish special-topic, guest-editor issues. Manuscripts and media that have been accepted for publication will be assigned to a specific issue but may be released online before an entire pdf issue is completed, as determined suitable.
Please note, balance and overall plan of the issues, including special guest-edited issues, will have a determining factor in the release date of an item.

We welcome submissions of original articles, forums, PLL (video), as well as review materials (books, periodicals, audio, tech/online, performances), but unsolicited written reviews are not accepted. Review material will be evaluated by editors and if deemed suitable, will be forwarded to specialist reviewers who write Symposium reviews. If you would like to be placed on our list of possible reviewers, please complete the reviewer interest form.

Please note: The Symposium abides by the highest ethical and professional standards. Please decline an invitation to serve as a reviewer or serve as an article referee if there is the slightest possibility of conflict of interest that could lead to a biased review or evaluation. Conflicts arise when, for instance, the reviewer has a financial interest in or professional association with the submitted work; a personal relationship with the author/creator; a history of discord with the author/creator; or there is a direct competition between your own work and the work under review/evaluation. If it is determined that a conflict of interest exist in regard to a Review, then the Symposium reserves the right not to publish the Review. If you have any questions or are in doubt, please contact the appropriate editor before proceeding.

Submissions are accepted twice a year: February 1 and September 1. You can submit your material through the online forms before these dates, but Component Editors may not assess submissions until the official deadlines. Symposium will attempt to publish all accepted manuscripts and media as soon as possible, but the balance and overall plan of the issues will have a determining factor in the release date of an item.


We encourage manuscripts that include images, video, and audio in a variety of manifestations—for instance, a musical transcription in an article can have an audio link. Also, Symposium’s digital repository can house resource documents and media that are referenced in a published manuscript, for example, a digitized primary source can be made readily available for those readers who seek to further flesh out a writer’s argument. Or audio that has been reviewed but has not been released by a recording company can be stored and “issued” through Symposium's repository.

STYLE SHEET for preparation of all written submissions, images, video, audio, permissions, and brief author biographies.


a. Scholarship and Research, 5000-10,000 words

Symposium welcomes articles from all areas of music and music in higher academe, including those concerned with teaching and learning, engagement, application and performance, integration, and discovery and creativity.

Manuscripts submitted for publication should represent the author’s original research and cannot have been previously published or under consideration for publication elsewhere. All submissions are initially assessed by the Scholarship and Research Editor, and if deemed suitable, will then be passed on to referees for comments and recommendation on acceptance. Please feel free to include media and supporting documentation with scholarly articles.

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b. Review Articles, 3000-5000 words

Review articles deal with several items or perspectives, usually a handful, rather than just one (like a lone book or tech review does). Review articles are NOT a list of abstracts or item descriptions. The author must summarize several ideas or technologies, identify problems and issues, and evaluate and synthesize findings related to a particular topic or subject area. Review articles might pertain to literature, methodologies, technologies, or online multimedia, among other items and concepts.

Review articles are viewed as scholarship, and like scholarly articles, should represent the author’s original research and cannot have been previously published or under consideration for publication elsewhere. All Review articles are initially assessed by the Scholarship and Research or MBI Editor and if deemed suitable, will be passed on to referees for comments and recommendation on acceptance.

More on Review Articles

c. Music Business-Industry, 3000-6000 words

Music Business-Industry (MBI) is a comprehensive Symposium component that includes investigation into innovative composition and performance technology, analyses of educational programs and emerging music career models, and research on the music economy, including the music business and its crossroads--financial, artistic, cultural, social, legal, and technological with an eye on creation, production, marketing, and distribution of music into the 21st century.

More on Music Business-Industry
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Forums (500-1200 words)

The Forum, which includes an online Comment Section where there is a free interchange of ideas, is directly related to the original purpose of the Symposium, as indicated by our very name. We value dialogue and encourage the exploration of topics from a variety of viewpoints so that we can learn from one another. Introducing or examining research and theory is welcome in Forum essays, but alongside that, we urge case studies and personal experiences that bring theory to life. Forum submissions that are accessible, enlightening, and help generate discussion in the Comments Section are preferred.

The Forum publishes:

  1. Essays, examinations of developments in the various areas of music or music in higher academe. These are normally stand-alone pieces rather than interviews or dialogues with others.
  2. Responses, scholarly comments responding to Symposium articles and reviews, and sometimes responses to earlier forums if the comment section is too limiting for the response. The Forum may publish multiple responses to any given piece.
  3. Commentaries, timely reactions to recent issues in music or music in higher academe. These submissions may have a more informal style. If possible, multiple commentaries on a single subject will be grouped together.

Please note, the default citation style for Forum submissions is the author-date system within the text  text, e.g. (Smith 2016, 315–16).

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The Performances, Lectures, Lecture-Recitals (PLL) component of the Symposium is unique among scholarly publications. The Symposium appreciates the need to recognize music practitioners as well as gifted lecturers. In this endeavor, the PLL component serves as a tool to validate the work of those in the performing arts, regardless of the fact that the offering was originally conveyed through non-written media. It is also of note that PLL provides a means to disseminate and review performances and lectures that might otherwise go unnoticed.

For consideration, performances/lectures must have been captured on video. Submissions will be peer-reviewed and accepted material will be issued by the Symposium as video with transcription. Moreover, the material will also receive a written review. So each PLL item results in two publications: the original video/transcription and a Review of the material.

The PLL publication steps are:

  1. video and supporting information is submitted through the online submission form
  2. content is assessed by the Component Editor who determines whether the material is suitable for the Symposium
  3. editor-approved submission is sent to peer referees for feedback
  4. if the referees recommend publication, then the video is sent to an official reviewer who writes a 500-word review (a referee may also serve as a reviewer)
  5. submitter is informed of acceptance and prepares a transcription of all spoken text in the video, if there is any

The benefits of this process are manifold. By having a written transcription of the video, Symposium readers can quickly search through material and find key points that may be helpful for their own research or interests needs. The submitter is rewarded, as his/her work is shared with the substantial Symposium readership, and he/she can claim a peer-reviewed publication (the original video/transcription is published by Symposium). Moreover, the submitter may end up with a positive review of the performance, which is very useful for the promotion of professionals in the performing arts. The reviewer, likewise, gains professional reward in that he/she also can claim a publication, the review itself.

See Style Sheet for video submission information.

When relevant, please include with your submission:

  1. Summary of the Performance, Lecture, or Lecture-Recital
  2. List of works performed
  3. Program notes
  4. Musical Scores or link to publisher
  5. Permissions for use of copyrighted materials
  6. Brief biography (50 words) of all performers/lecturers

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As we move further into the 21st century, with so many writings and multimedia bombarding CMS members, there is a need to weed through the massive amount of information and pinpoint significant resources that may be helpful to music scholars and professionals. By vetting and presenting sources and their strengths and weaknesses, the multifarious Reviews of the Symposium work toward helping members make informed decisions.

If you would like to serve as a Reviewer of books, audio, video, or tech/online resources, please complete the Reviewer Interest Form


a. Book Reviews

The Symposium reviews monographs, textbooks, anthologies, periodicals, or any substantial written document that may be of interest to our readership. The journal publishes book reviews of 1000 words, with some exceptions possible based on editor consultation. Books should have been published within the past five years, although an unusual source that may have been overlooked can be considered.

If you would like the Symposium to consider a book for review, please complete the Submit Review Material form

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Book reviews are expected to be objective and include an introduction and a general, fair, opinion, with the reviewer usually addressing the following:

what are the main ideas and goals of the book?
b. who is the intended audience and/or who would find it useful?
c. are the methods, sources and information sound and accurate?
d. if pertinent, might there be comparisons between this book and other works on the subject?
e. constructive comments, opinions.
f. for edited volumes, what are the dominant themes? references to specific chapters as appropriate.


b. Audio

All musics of the world, including masterworks from the past and new compositions in all styles of music, are eligible for audio review. The variety of content highlights the broad interests of performers and creators worldwide as well as that of the CMS readership.

Symposium is accepting sound recordings of live performances, CDs, and other audio. Audio need not be issued by a recording company in order for Symposium to review it. Symposium appreciates that, in a technologically dynamic time, worthy audio can be transmitted through many means. Audio that has been reviewed by Symposium but that has not been issued by a recording company, or published audio that has received appropriate permission, can be stored in Symposium repository and in that way be “issued” by Symposium.

Submit audio material through the Submit Review Material form and please include the following:

  1. recording title, year of issue, performers, audio engineers, and other production information
  2. a brief description (250 word limit) of the project or concert, its significance and/or information about any new works and their composers.
  3. Liner notes or digital CD booklet, if any
  4. Permissions for use of copyrighted materials, if appropriate
  5. Brief biography (50 words) of all performers

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c. Technology and Online Resources

Symposium reviews a variety of technology, including Apps, software, electronic equipment, digital repositories (e.g. and online educational platforms, including both university and for-profit courses (e.g., Technology is constantly changing, and we seek to keep the CMS readership stay up to date on the latest innovations and helpful tech tools.

If you would like the Symposium to consider material for review, please complete the Submit Review Material form.

When submitting tech for review, provide as much information as possible, including a brief description (250 word limit), its significance and/or other important information.

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