Brief biography and reviews

Keith Swanwick, Professor Emeritus, University College London, Institute of Education,
previously Professor of Music Education and Dean of Research 

After graduating with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music, Keith Swanwick taught in schools and university. At various times he has been a choral and orchestral conductor, an orchestral musician, a church organist and music director and is still involved as a musician. His PhD was a study of Music and the Education of the Emotions and since then this and related areas have been the central focus of his research. From 1984 to 1998, he was, with John Paynter, editor of the British Journal of Music Education. In 1987 he became the first Chair of the British National Association for Education in the Arts and from 1991 to 1995 Chaired the Music Education Council (UK).

Since the publication of A Basis for Music Education in 1979, Keith Swanwick has been a major influence on the theory and practice of music education. The international recognition of his contribution to the philosophy and psychology of music and music education is recognised by invitations from over 20 countries to give presentations, conduct workshops and advise as a consultant. During 1998 he was Visiting Professor, University of Washington and from 1999–2001 Advisory Professor at the Institute of Education in Hong Kong.  In 2004 he held in Tokyo a Fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. 

In 2011 the Brazilian government provided Brazil's music teachers with copies of his book Ensinando Música Musicalmente.  He is the editor of Music Education, (Routledge 2012) a four-volume collection of significant work in the field. In 2016 Routledge published A Developing Discourse in Music Education, a selection from his writing.   

A Basis For Music Education  1979
Professor Swanwick brought to this book the distillation of years of work and experience in the field.  He not only grounded his work firmly in that of Langer, Koestler, L.A. Reid, Reimer and others, but having established a theory of music he confidently articulated a rationale for music education.  ‑ ‑ Here at last was the curriculum model that music educators had lacked for so long, containing both a clearly stated philosophical base and defined curriculum objectives.  (Margaret Metcalfe, Living Powers)
Music, Mind And Education  1988  (also in Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese)
It represents a major contribution to international music education.  The issues it raises and the solutions it proposes deserve the attention of every music educator.  (Paul Lehman, International Journal of Music Education)

The range of sources, application of thought and sheer erudition exhibited in this work are, at times, quite overwhelming - - a new star in the firmament of pedagogy, musicology and psychology.  (Miles Krusznski, Educational Psychology in Practice) 

Keith Swanwick presents us with a stimulating theory of music education.  Furthermore, he advances a keen perspective on the role of music in human development and its unique function in the public school curriculum.  Finally, he provides a steadfast beacon to enlighten the quest for a new paradigm for the arts in education.  (Marie F. McCarthy, Harvard Educational Review)

Musical Knowledge  1994
(This) represents a monumental undertaking, and explains why the book appears so compressed, so tightly packed with information and argument. - -  It is a creative and engaging book and in this sense quite unlike many other books which purport to explain what music education research is and how one should do it.  - - it is always refreshing to read something which has the avowed aim of changing the face of quantitative, normative music education research - -This book certainly contributes significantly to the debate in music education.  (Robert Walker, Psychology of Music 
For over two decades, music educator Keith Swanwick has published literate articles and books and has been active on the political scene of music educational curriculum criticism and change in England.  He successfully brings this experience to bear on his latest effort, Musical Knowledge. - - - Swanwick’s strengths lie in his ability to transform esoteric issues into very readable English.  (Lawrence Ferrara, Philosophy of Music Education Review)
Teaching Music Musically  1999  (also in Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Farsi) 
Keith Swanwick is clear-headed (and sometimes clairvoyant!) in his analysis of the state of ‘the art’ of music education, and brings to the forefront of the profession some of the greatest challenges facing practitioners today.  There are countless gems within these pages. . . The three principles are the key to the success of beginning and experienced teachers both. I’m amazed at how well it aligns with the most reasonable and practical ways of thinking about music and its transmission; Swanwick seems to write from more experience as a musician and teacher than most others who write for this audience. There is a real sense of his having ‘been there’.   (Professor Pat Shehan Campbell, University of Washington)   
Subpages (1): Publications