John McGrath (Music PhD)
Tell us a little bit about the role you do
I‘m a guitarist and academic and I currently lecture at ICMP and Goldsmiths.
I see being a performing artist / musician and an academic writer / educator as two sides of a creative endeavor to interrogate and produce ideas.
What do you like about the role?
One of my favorite things to teach and lead is a large Masters module on Practice as Research where students challenge themselves to undergo a research inquiry using performance as part of the methodology. I enjoy working with music students on both the academic intellectual aspects and practical performance side so it’s even better when these come together in praxis.
How did you get into it?
My performance background and my academic training make me a versatile educator and I’ve taught all sorts of music modules from popular music studies to AV theory, performance workshops and Aesthetics. The opportunities to TA while a PhD candidate at UoL taught me much before I went on to lead my own modules there and elsewhere.
How have you used your degree?
My PhD from UoL has expanded my critical skills, knowledge and definitely improved my time management and independence as a professional academic. It has provided me with the intellectual framework and the rigour needed for the job at hand. The School of Music at Liverpool is very progressive and combines practice and theory in a positive way.
What are your top tips for students wanting to work in your field?
My life is a perennial juggling act. When it’s all going well though, it’s very rewarding. I would say research what interests you rather than what you think you should or what’s trendy. Keep an open mind and don’t stop asking questions.