Call for Lightning Talks

Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The College Music Society will hold its Sixty-First National Conference October 11–13, 2018, at the JW Marriott parq Vancouver in Vancouver, British Columbia, in conjunction with the 2018 National Conferences of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI) and National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI).

The 2018 Program Committee of The College Music Society welcomes proposals for lightning talks that address the 2018 Common Topic, “Diversity and Inclusion.”


Lightning Talks are brief, 5-minute presentations that focus on a single topic, example, idea, project, or technique. Lightning Talks differ substantially from a delivered paper in that they do not attempt to cover all aspects of their subject matter, but present one facet of an idea clearly and succinctly using graphics, images, text, and sounds. In a Lightning Talk, the presenter tells a story or shares information using no more than 10 slides that each utilize a minimum 50-point font size for text.


An effective lightning talk is insightful, inspiring, thought-provoking, useful, humorous, controversial, or enlightening. CMS seeks proposals that push the boundaries of “common sense” and interrogate ideas and conceptions.


For an example of an award-winning Lightning Talk, given in 3 minutes, 30 seconds, please watch the following YouTube video.

For further advice on assembling and giving Lightning Talks, click here.


  • All persons whose work is selected for inclusion on the program are expected to register for, and attend, the full conference.

  • Proposers agree to present on any day of the conference should their proposal be accepted.

  • The College Music Society does not fund travel expenses of accepted presenters or performers.

  • Proposers must submit their own work and may not submit proposals on behalf of their students or others.


  • The Primary proposer must be a current member of The College Music Society. Persons interested in submitting a proposal should check their membership status well in advance of the submission deadline. Please note the processing time for membership applications and/or renewals is 1–2 business days.


  • Lightning Talk submissions should be unique and should not duplicate work submitted by the proposer in response to any other Calls for this conference.

  • Each member may submit only ONE lightning talk proposal.

  • Each member is limited to TWO submissions to all calls for this conference. (again, only ONE may be submitted to this Call).

  • Each member may be added by others as a co-presenter (e.g., panelist or accompanist) to a maximum of TWO proposals.

  • The maximum number of presentations in which a member may be involved on the program is TWO. If more than two proposals involving the same member are accepted – regardless of whether the member submitted the proposal or was added another member’s proposal – the individual in question must choose in which two presentations s/he will participate.


  • Electronic submissions are required. Proposals sent by mail will not be considered.

  • The College Music Society's conference submission process is powered by Submittable. To submit a proposal, please (1) log in to the CMS members-only website using your user name and password and then (2) click the ‘Submit’ button at the bottom of this call. You will be directed to Submittable to complete your proposal. If you don't already have a Submittable account, you will be prompted to establish one. (Click here for help using Submittable and to view a list of Frequently Asked Questions.)

  • A complete proposal includes:
  1. The proposal’s title.
  2. An abstract not exceeding 250 words.

    Preparing an Abstract—The Program Committee chooses presentations based primarily on the abstract as submitted, so it is important to write an abstract that the Committee will understand and can evaluate fairly. The purpose of the abstract is to convey to the reader what will be said in the presentation. Do not merely describe the subject or list the topics to be covered. Rather, state the main point of the presentation, outline the subsidiary points, and summarize the evidence offered, so that someone who has not heard the presentation can know in brief what it will say and can evaluate its contribution to our knowledge and understanding of music. The abstract, like the presentation itself, should be clear to an audience of musicians and music educators of all kinds, not just to those with a narrow specialty. While it may be necessary to set the context or lay out the problem to be addressed, this should be kept to a minimum.

  3. A list of required equipment and Internet needs (Internet connections may include a fee).
  4. A biography of the presenter not exceeding 250 words.

Please note:

  • PowerPoint slides are not required during the proposal stage. Those invited to present will be required to submit their prepared presentations approximately one month prior to the start of the conference.

  • The presenter's name or affiliation should not appear in the title or abstract, as submissions are evaluated anonymously. Proposals identifying the proposer will be disqualified. The name and affiliation may, however, appear in the submitted biography, as the review committee will not have access to this part of the application.

  • When referencing one’s own previously published research, the proposer should refer to such research in the third person to avoid identifying themselves. For example, hypothetical proposal submitter D. Graham should write, “D. Graham’s article, ‘XYZ,’ summarizes pertinent issues,” instead of writing, “My article, ‘XYZ,’ summarizes pertinent issues.” The wording in the first example protects the anonymity of the author, while the second compromises the author’s anonymity by linking the author of the proposal to previously published work by a named author.

  • Submissions that do not conform to the above guidelines will not be considered.


  • Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on Tuesday, November 28, 2017.
  • Proposers will be notified by Thursday, March 29, 2018.


Questions regarding this call should be directed to:
Jennifer Snow, 2018 Program Chair

Questions concerning conference operations should be directed to:
Peter S. Park, CMS Director of Professional Activities


You must be a CMS member to submit a proposal.
Please log in and the 'Submit' button will appear in this location. Or, click here to join CMS.