Dr. Jacqueline Warwick
What do you think is the best part of being a musicologist? My favourite part of being a musicologist is that I get to earn my living listening, thinking, talking and writing about music. Music is so central to the human experience, and it marks the most joyful and the most painful parts of our lives because it can so often express things that can’t be put into words. It is a privilege to be able to explore the power of music with students and colleagues.
What areas / topics of research do you specialize in? My first book (based on my PhD dissertation) was about the girl groups of the early 1960s: groups of (largely) untrained singers who created songs articulating the experience of being a teenage girl during a time when youth culture and expectations for “nice girls” were in turmoil. 60s girl groups like the Shirelles, the Ronettes, the Supremes and the ShangriLas were important symbols for girls around the world. The broke gender, race, and class barriers, and they were central to the ways that youth experience was reinvented. I’ve also written about other popular music topics and feminist issues.
What do you like best about living in the City of Halifax? I love to live in a place that is by the sea and has so much beauty and history around. I'm also happy with the arts and music scene here: this small city really punches above its weight!
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What projects are you currently working on? I’m now researching the phenomenon of child stars in music, in preparation for a new book to be called Child’s Play: Musical Prodigies and the Performance of Childhood. I’m interested in the longstanding fascination with precocious child performers; why do we like so much to see little children perform like adults? And what do children get out of that experience? I’m interested in the usually sentimental, old-fashioned repertoire assigned to children and the ways that child prodigies symbolize both the future and the past.
Where can we find/read some of your work? Girl Groups, Girl Culture: Popular Music and Identity in the 1960s was published with Routledge in 2007, and there are copies in local libraries. Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music, which I co-edited with Allison Adrian in 2016, is also on Routledge, and I’m very proud of the terrific authors who contributed to this collection. I’ve also published reviews and articles in journals such as Journal of Popular Music Studies, Journal of the American Musicological Society, and Journal of the Society for American Music.
What advice can you offer any interested musicology students? Choose grad school if you are passionate about research! And choose a topic that involves listening to music you really like.