David McCarthy

RCAH Faculty

Director of the MSU Arts Living-Learning Community

C220K Snyder Hall

A white man in glasses, wearing a black shirt, smiles at the camera. Image has a white background.



PhD in Musicology, Graduate Center, City University of New York
MA in Musicology/Ethnomusicology, University of Minnesota
MM in Saxophone, University of Minnesota
BM in Saxophone, Central Michigan University 


David McCarthy is an RCAH faculty member and director of the MSU Arts Living-Learning Community. He works as a community organizer, musician, and writer with overlapping interests in experimentalism, labor, participatory culture, race, and sound. His courses at RCAH have dealt with African-American arts and entertainment, community song, labor, sound technology, and related topics. He encourages students to study ideas by using them to address practical problems in their own lives and in the lives of people around them, often through collaboration with community partners, including the Allen Neighborhood Center, the Potter Park Zoo, the Turner-Dodge House, and Lansing's juvenile detention facility. 

David's research has appeared in numerous publications for a wide range of audiences within and beyond the academy, including The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies, the academic journal Twentieth-Century Music, and the socialist journal Against the Current. David is preparing a book project on the development of party records, a genre of LP record based on recordings of African-American revue entertainers that helped to establish modern "Black entertainment," in the sense of mass media for a primarily Black audience.

Among his organizing activities, he is co-founder and artistic director of the New Music Forum, a mutual aid society devoted to nurturing communities for experimentalism across the performing arts in Mid-Michigan. He believes that we learn and grow by working with and for others and is available by email for possible collaboration.