The Journal of Music Publishes Reviewing Guidelines

The Journal of Music Publishes Reviewing Guidelines

New guidelines discuss the unique challenge of describing music and the balance between reporting and critiquing.

The Journal of Music has today published its very first set of Reviewing Guidelines for contributors.

The Journal has always specialised in in-depth reviews, and emphasised the importance of the editorial process, but it has never before formulated its approach for writers.

The guidelines have come about in part due to many conversations with contributors and artists, but particularly as a result of the successful Music Writer Mentoring Schemes that the Journal has run over the past three years.

Commenting on the new guidelines, Toner Quinn, editor of the Journal of Music, said:

The music writer schemes we have run since 2017 – in Clare, Galway and Northern Ireland – have had the main purpose of developing new writing talent. An added benefit, however, has been that it forced us to formulate some of the editorial practices that had always been part of the culture of the publication but which we had previously been doing instinctively. My hope is that these new guidelines will assist new contributors to the magazine and that we will continue to grow our range of writers and the music we cover.

I would like to thank all of our writers, especially the participants in the music writing schemes, who through many discussions have helped us hone these ideas. I would also like to mention the invaluable support from the arts offices of Galway City Council, Galway County Council and Clare County Council, and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, each of which has funded separate schemes, and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, which supports all our work.

The guidelines discusses the balance between reporting and critiquing, the unique challenges that come with describing music, how to be specific when writing about music, how to structure reviews, the role of introductions and endings, and more. 

View the guidelines and download a PDF here. Should readers have comments or questions about the guidelines please email editor [at] If you are interested in contributing to the magazine, please send a sample review.

For more on our Music Writer Mentoring Schemes, visit

Published on 28 August 2019

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