Author Guidelines

General considerations

The style of your submission should be loosely modeled on what Dan Cohen calls the "blessay," or blog-essay. Blessays engage serious ideas and scholarly literature using a clear, readable style. Referring to exemplars on BLDGBLOG and The Atlantic Magazine's website, Cohen observes that the blessay "uses the apparatus of the web more than the apparatus of the journal, e.g., links rather than footnotes. Where helpful, [it] uses supplementary evidence from images, audio, and video—elements that are often missing or flattened in print." Blessays may freely incorporate links to websites, blogs, Wikipedia, newspaper and magazine articles, YouTube, IMSLP, Spotify, Storify, books in the Open Library, or journal databases.

While we take inspiration from and keep many aspects of the blessay format, Engaging Students will use author-date citations (which will allow readers to more easily find material in the event of broken links or website changes). When possible, please link the citation, allowing for an ease of reference with minimal disruption to the text.

Style Guide

The submission template [forthcoming] will provide information on how to format your document and insert examples, references, and bibliography.

Special terms and further reading

In general, replace explanatory footnotes with a linked citation to another source on the web offering further explanation or a helpful image.


"Throughout our in-class discussions, the listening strategy that students hone is to first list the times (minutes and seconds within the recording) of all of the cadences in the exposition, and then determine the location of the medial caesura and EEC to parse the formal sections within the exposition."

Jenine Brown

"Discussing with students the Music Genome Project (Walker 2009) connected with Pandora Radio will introduce them to practical applications of high order aural thinking."

Kevin R. Burke


Please use in-text citations (Author-date), with a link to the source. Although page numbers are not normally used in the blessay format, we encourage them when making direct quotations.

Journal articles

If a cited article is published in a print journal, link the relevant text to a citation in a journal database, Ebscohost, ERIC, or the journal’s website. If the article is open access, link directly to the full article.


Slunt and Giancarlo (2004) have shown that JiTT quizzes given before class to have a greater impact on actively engaging students.

Bryn Hughes

"An effective performance must not only be correct, but also creative, emotional, and communicative (Mitchell 2011)."

Deborah Rifkin

Michael Callahan (2012) taught a semester of baroque counterpoint as a hands-on keyboard workshop.

 –Anna Gawboy

Citations of books

When possible, link author text or title text to the appropriate citation on the Open Library, The use of page numbers is not necessary except when using direct quotations.


Michael Rogers (2004, 4) observed that, in many core undergraduate theory curricula, "too much emphasis on narrow course content and acquisition of knowledge . . .obscures the more far-reaching goals of theory instruction…."

Anna Gawboy

The pedagogical techniques offered in Finkel (2000) attempt to democratize responsibility for learning, rather than treat the teacher as all-knowing authority figure.

Carla Colletti

Citations of musical recordings or playlists

Link text to YouTube recordings as well as playlists on recording databases like Spotify. When possible, link to an official source (such as Spotify,, or the artist’s or label’s own website or YouTube channel) to minimize the likelihood that a reader will follow a link and find that the recording has been removed.


"Although we could identify the blues scale used in the C major prelude, we would miss the joke of such a phenomenon occurring in a piece supposedly written in the early eighteenth century."

Enoch S. A. Jacobus

"Here is a new playlist that includes four canonic examples of Jiangnan Sizhu that very closely match the given paradigm…"

Kevin R. Burke

Citations of scores

Link text directly to the file on IMSLP or other sheet music database.


"The opening two measures of Chopin’s Nocturne in C minor…."

Software and other products

Link the title to the manufacturer’s website or another resource explaining its use.


"I…used the free and open-source digital editing software Audacity to teach independent, active listening habits." –Crystal Peebles

"Brian discussed Audio Hijack Pro, a downloadable app for Mac OS X…that allows you to make audio recordings…" –Stephen Gosden

Links to unpublished materials

During the submission process, supplementary PDFs or materials can be submitted using the submissions portal. Where possible we would like to host files (e.g. if you are the copyright holder).


"This information was gleaned through feedback sheets I distribute periodically throughout the semester."

Trevor de Clercq

"…using clickers in real time is also useful in aural skills classes, such as asking students to indicate their hearing through the Do/Ti test (Daniel Stevens’s creative development of the guide-tone method)."

Phil Duker

Bibliographical references

Compile all sources in a bibliography at the end of your blessay. Citations should follow conventions of the "Author-Date" system outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style, The title of each reference can be hyperlinked if there is no DOI, but if a DOI exists, please use that link. As a note, there are many books and articles that do not have DOIs, please check this site if you are in doubt.


Schubert, Peter. 2008. Modal Counterpoint: Renaissance Style. New York: Oxford University Press.

Grant, Roger Mathew. 2014. Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era. New York: Oxford University Press.

Print article:

Alegant, Brian. 2008. "Listen Up! Thoughts on iPods, Sonata Form, and Analysis Without the Score." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 22: 149–76.


Stim, Rich. "Copyright FAQs." Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University Libraries. Accessed August 2, 2013.


Willingham, Daniel. 2018. "Just how polarized are we about reading instruction?" Daniel Willingham: Science and Education Blog, October 29th. Accessed April 7, 2020.

Publication and Review process

Engaging Students uses an anonymous process, where essays are provisionally accepted and then move on to a peer-editing stage. After it is submitted, your essay will go through an anonymous-peer review. If your article is provisionally accepted, it will move to the collaborative editing stage in Google docs (we will ask you to share it with the Engaging Students Google account, so that we will then be able to assign reviewers to edit your essay).

It is very important that you are electronically available to work on your essay during the editing window (please see volume announcement for details). During this time, please keep an eye on your email as well as the document itself for comments from the reviewers, who will work with you to improve your essay—both to bring it in line with the style of the volume and to assist with clarity and flow for a greater communicative impact. When you receive a comment, please respond to the comment and/or revise the essay in light of your discussion with your reviewer(s). When you are satisfied that the issue raised by the reviewer has been resolved, mark the comment as resolved. (It will disappear, but will still be accessible in the document history if you want to revisit it later.)

While this interactive process takes more time and effort for the authors, we have found the peer-editing stage to be helpful and successful in past volumes. While we envision the submission-to-publishing process will be smooth, the editorial board reserves the right to decline essays at the end of the peer-revision process if they do not reach the desired standard during the course of the peer-editing. Final acceptance/rejection notifications will come via email.

If you have any questions, please contact Carla Colletti or Philip Duker.