Music Educators Journal Book Review Guidelines

Music Educators Journal (MEJ) is soliciting book reviews written by its readers. Please comply with the following guidelines in requesting a title and submitting a review:

Assignment of books: Reviews will cover books on music education and music history received in the MEJ editorial office. Members interested in writing a review should contact the book review editor for a list of books available to review. Reviewers are required to be NAfME members. Books will be assigned and sent to reviewers on a first come, first served basis. Unless otherwise stated, reviewers will be able to keep any books they review. Reviewers are assigned one book to review at a time and will be assigned no more than two books in one calendar year.

We prefer that reviewers not review books written or edited by friends or acquaintances; if reviewers do know the book’s author or editor, that relationship must be disclosed to MEJ. We also prefer that reviewers not review books that compete with a book written by the reviewer—any such conflict of interest must be disclosed.

Writing the review: Read the book in its entirety. Your review should be approximately one typed page (single spaced) and no longer than 500 words. (The word count includes the introductory information included with every review.) Focus more on reasoned critique than on providing a summary of the book. Discuss the book’s strengths and weaknesses. Provide details to support your praise or criticism. Do not simply say the book is interesting or useful. Offer specific examples (and the page numbers, if possible) of what is interesting or useful about the book. Try to avoid jargon and overly technical language. If technical language is required, define the terms used. Use book reviews previously published in MEJ for guidance.

Answer the following questions in your review:

  • What is the goal or purpose of the book?
  • Who is most likely to find the book useful?
  • To the best of your knowledge, is the information in the book accurate?

Other questions that you might want to consider as you write your review include the following:

  • How well does the book live up to its promises on the back cover?
  • Is the title accurate?
  • Is the author qualified?
  • Are the resources used by the author appropriate?
  • Does the book have useful charts, graphs, illustrations, diagrams, or photographs?
  • How does this book relate to other books in the field?
  • Are there other more useful books available on this topic? (If the book is truly weak, you may consider mentioning some better materials in your review.)

Editorial and publication policies: NAfME editors will edit reviews to ensure conformity with the reviewers’ guidelines and MEJ style, which is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.), published by the University of Chicago Press. MEJ is copyrighted as an entity, so authors must transfer copyright to NAfME. Due to space limitations in the print journal, some reviews might appear on NAfME’s Web site. The book review editor makes the final decision regarding publication of any review submitted.

Additional information: To obtain a list of books currently available for review, contact Caroline Arlington or call 800-336-3768, x238.