Polygence blog / How to Conduct and Showcase Research

6 Ways to Publish Your Music Research as a High Schooler

4 minute read

When it comes to music research, finishing a project is challenging, but getting your work published can be even trickier. Music research can take various forms, and can cover topics ranging from medieval music history to computer music technology. There are many subfields within music, which can make it confusing to decide on the best avenue for submitting your work for publication. In another article, we explore six very different kinds of opportunities for high school students to get involved in music research. If you’re interested in taking your research to the next level by having your work published, then this article is for you!

Before we get into the various options for getting your work out there, let’s make an important distinction: if your research consists of original music composition, then the pathways for publishing your music research are going to differ compared to, say, an article about politics in twentieth-century American music. Personally, my research includes both composition and scholarly articles, so in this article, we will go into multiple scenarios. But first, let’s focus on music research that takes the form of an article.

My experience with writing music research articles is that the process always seems to take significantly longer than I expected. For example, after completing the first draft of my most recent article, I spent several months revising and editing it with the help of my mentors before it was published in a journal. (Mentors are key when it comes to producing high-quality music research.Polygence’s team of expert mentors are available to work with you on your unique project!So, I recommend planning ahead: write your article well before the deadline to submit the final draft.

University professors and graduate students indeed produce  the majority of published, peer-reviewed music research. However, it is increasingly possible for younger students to contribute their work to the scholarly community. For example, Nota Bene is a journal dedicated to publishing excellent musicology articles by undergraduate students. In addition, there are options available for high school students to submit their music research articles for review and publication. Here are four options that accept music research article submissions from high schoolers:

4 Publishers Accepting  Music Research Articles by High School Authors

1. The Concord Review

  • Fees: $70 for consideration and $200 for publication (if accepted)

  • When to submit: by Feb 1 (Summer Issue), May 1 (Fall), August 1 (Winter), and November 1 (Spring)

  • Subject area(s): History / Social Sciences

  • Type of research: academic articles

  • Length: 8,000 words (suggested)

The Concord Review is a highly selective academic journal for high schoolers. They only accept exceptional essays by high school students writing about historical topics, including the history of music. This is hands-down one of the most prestigious academic publications for high schoolers to be published in, and getting an article accepted is no walk in the park. The sweet spot in terms of length seems to be about 8,000 words, or right around 15 to 16 pages—more than your average homework assignment, for sure. If you’re interested and determined, check out our comprehensive guide on getting published in the Concord Review.

2. The Schola

  • Fees: $180 for consideration

  • When to submit: rolling deadlines throughout the year

  • Subject area(s): philosophy, history, art history, literature, politics, public policy, and sociology

  • Type of research: academic articles

  • Length: 4,500 - 5,500 words

The Schola is another great option for high school researchers to consider, especially if your article is on a subject related to music history. It is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal that publishes essays in humanities and social sciences fields. The Schola’s ideal length for article submissions is 5,000 words—somewhat shorter than the Concord Review—and requires a $180 fee to be considered for publication.

3. The Journal of High School Science

  • Fees: $25

  • When to submit: rolling deadlines throughout the year

  • Subject area(s): all quantitative research topics

  • Type of research: articles presenting original research, literature reviews, or “technical notes” (short papers)

  • Length: varies

Although the Journal of High School Science sounds like it would be limited to scientific research based on its name, it is also open to music research! Specifically, they accept research papers with quantitative results, such as articles on music cognition, sound perception, or acoustics.

4. Medium

Medium is an online platform for writers to publish their work. Recently, it has actually started hosting a ton of accessible scholarship on music theory and analysis. For example, here is an essay on the human factors in music theory and another one on AI composition. If you find a publication on Medium that you are interested in writing for, you can try reaching out to them; alternatively, it’s free to set up an account and publish yourself!

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Publishing Original Music by High School Composers

Of course, not all research takes the form of a written article. Naturally, a lot of music research is best described as, well, music. If this describes your work, then you may be interested in getting your music out there for others to enjoy! However, the world of music publication can be confusing and difficult to navigate, especially for high school composers. For starters, you might have questions about copyright, performance rights, and royalties. Luckily, organizations like ASCAP and BMI work with composers and arrangers to sort out a lot of those details.

For many composers, sheet music is an afterthought, especially if you are focused on music recording or production. Still, some established professional composers work directly with sheet music publishers to edit, engrave, print, and sell their works. For high school, college, and graduate composers, this is not common. In the vast majority of cases, it will be most beneficial for you to self-publish your work online to maximize your exposure.

Here are two ways to publish your original music compositions as a high schooler:

1. MuseScore

  • Fees: free

  • When to submit: any time

  • Subject area(s): all music compositions or arrangements

  • Type of research: musical score

  • Length: any duration

You may be familiar with MuseScore as a free music notation software. However, the software also makes it a cinch to publish your works directly to their catalog, which can be a great way to share your original compositions online. With a simple click, you can switch your score from private to public, making it free for all members to find and listen to using their built-in playback function.

2. Score Videos

  • Fees: free for the first piece

  • When to submit: September and March deadlines

  • Subject area(s): all music compositions in any style, preferably chamber ensemble or solo performer

  • Type of research: musical score with audio recording or video footage. (They also consider performances without traditional notated scores.)

  • Length: any duration

If you have a score and a recording for your composition, then creating a combined video using a simple score video builder (like this one from Score Follower) or video editing software is a fantastic way to share your music online. The idea is pretty simple: with the recording playing in the background, the video scrolls from line to line of the musical score, showing the viewer how you notated every single passage. Once you’ve created the video, you can embed it anywhere or upload it to YouTube. 

As a composer who creates a fair number of score videos for my own music, I think their popularity is probably due to their approachability as a synchronized medium: the viewer can easily follow along with the score without fear of getting lost.

In addition to its popular score video builder, Score Follower also serves as a publisher of score videos. Twice a year, they open a call for submissions of scores and recordings. Following a review process, they select a handful of works to publish as beautiful score videos that they then highlight across their social media channels and platforms, including YouTube and TikTok. Here are the details for that process:

Finding a Talented Mentor for Your Music Research Project

Mentorship is important for completing and publishing your musical research and/or composition at any level. Whether you are interested in music history or writing your own brand new pieces, Polygence can match you with an expert to guide you through the process of creating and publishing your work. Check out our Core program to learn how we can support you and your research through mentorship, as well as through opportunities to showcase your passion project.