Gareth Dylan Smith


Assistant Professor of Music, Music Education


BA, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; MA, Institute of Education, University of London; MMus, University of East London; PhD, Institute of Education, University of London


CFA 207A


Gareth Dylan Smith is active nationally and internationally as a teacher, speaker, researcher and drummer. Overarching themes in his research are eudaimonia, popular music education, and sociology of music education. Gareth has a keen interest in social justice in and through music learning, and enjoys exploring intersections of musicking within and without schooling contexts. Gareth’s work has been published in journals including Research Studies in Music Education; Psychology of Music; Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education; Music + Practice; Punk & Post-Punk; Journal of Music, Technology and Education; British Journal of Music Education; and Artivate. He has written dozens of articles for encyclopedias including several pieces about drummers in the Grove dictionary of American music. Gareth’s books include I drum, therefore I am: Being and becoming a drummer; Sociology for music teachers: Practical applications (with Hildegard Froehlich); Punk pedagogies: Music, culture and learning (with Mike Dines and Tom Parkinson); The Routledge research companion to popular music education (with Zack Moir, Matt Brennan, Shara Rambarran and Phil Kirkman); Sound advice for drummers; and Eudaimonia: Perspectives for music learning (with Marissa Silverman). He is working on two monographs about phenomenology and philosophy of drumming.

Career highlights as a drummer include an ongoing partnership of more than 20 years with award-wining Welsh composer, producer ,and guitarist, Stephen Wheel; 100+ punk shows across the UK, Ireland, Europe, and USA with London-Irish psycho-cèilidh band, Neck; touring and recording with singer-songwriters Gillian Glover and Daniel Spiller; four albums with garage rock band, the Eruptörs; making and releasing an album with Iron Maiden alumni, V1; a stint as the house drummer for the global Guitar Idol finals; and playing in dozens of regional and off West End musical theatre productions around London and England. Gareth is currently working on an album of duets featuring rather a lot of drums, and a concept album with Stephen Wheel based on the John le Carré novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He plays drums for riff-rock band, Black Belt Jesus, with Dan Sheehan’s Tales from Earth, Inc., and with Zack Moir in rock-jazz-electronica duo, Build A Fort.

Before coming to Boston University, Gareth worked for music education nonprofit Little Kids Rock in New Jersey, USA. Prior to that he was at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, England where he taught graduate and undergraduate classes, co-designed a master’s program in Popular Music Performance, and founded the Popular Music Education Research Centre. Gareth served as external examiner for the Royal Northern College of Music, University of Sussex, and University of Wolverhampton, which included stints at the International College of Music in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Westford School of Management in Kochi, India. Before working in higher education, Gareth taught drum kit peripatetically in south Wales for Cardiff and Vale Music Service, and served as a music teacher in elementary and high schools in north London. Gareth has served as a board member of the International Society for Music Education and as President and Vice President of the Association for Popular Music Education. He is Chair of the National Association for Music Education’s Special Research Interest Group on Popular Music Education. Gareth is founding editor, with Bryan Powell, of the Journal of Popular Music Education.