Photo of LLeaP lecturer Keith McCuaig

Photo credit: Anita Grace.

With an MA in Music and Culture, and over twenty years’ experience as a musician, Keith McCuaig is dedicated to all things music and art. He loves exploring the histories of popular music, especially the interconnectedness of genres, and the socio-cultural significance of music. Keith has extensive experience in researching, writing and teaching a variety of music-related topics; he has taught courses through Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, and presented at international musicology conferences. From performing, writing, and recording, to lecturing, giving music lessons, and working with community music programs, Keith’s life and passion is music.

Keith is a popular Lifelong Learning Program lecturer who has taught over a dozen offerings in the last three years.

Read what participants have said about the Early Fall 2021 “Road Trip USA: Exploring the Musical History of Six American Cities” lecture series (offered online):

  • This was an excellent series – it met and even exceeded my expectations. Keith knows his stuff and presents it well; he welcomed and acknowledged input from participants, and he included lots of visual and auditory material in his lectures. I thank him for getting me to learn about and appreciate Hip-Hop, a genre with which I was not particularly familiar. Looking forward to participating in his next lecture series.
  • Keith’s understanding of popular music is deep and broad. He also understands popular music as a method for studying social history. His enthusiasm for the topic, across all genres, is infectious. His own musical ability allows him to illustrate key points with his own guitar. His vibrant personality is a real asset. He was able to create a sense of community across the participants by encouraging and reinforcing comments/questions which I think is remarkable for a virtual lecture series. 
  • I have taken most of Keith’s lectures. He is excellent; the content is extremely organized and interesting. Also love the way he uses his guitar to illustrate lecture material.
  • Keith is an excellent facilitator, leader, and lecturer. He incorporated historical facts and stories very effectively. His use of audio-visual resources was excellent. The series was very interesting – I learned a lot and found every week enjoyable. He is very knowledgeable and personable. He answered everyone’s questions and acknowledged their comments, very effectively. I would highly recommend Keith’s lectures and this lecture series in particular.
  • This was one of the most interesting and varied lecture series I have taken through the program.  It was excellent and Keith really presented the material well.  I enjoyed it very much.
  • I found the material interesting and engaging. The lecturer is fabulous. I learned a great deal and would love to take more lectures with him.
  • The use of video, slides and lecturer visuals was excellent. Subject matter was interesting and fun. I’ve taken several lectures with Keith and I always learn so much.
  • I liked all aspects of this lecture series. The topic was interesting, the lectures delivered in an organized and informative manner and the lecturer was very knowledgeable about the subject. I would highly recommend this series.
  • Keith was very prepared. His material was organized and presented visually to his participants. His lecture consisted of elaborating on his points presented visually. Keith added to his lectures with videos and slides. Sometimes he played examples on his own guitar. Keith had a lot to say about the cultural and social development of the music.  The lecture series was given further depth through Keith’s knowledge and presentation of the lives of the musicians he spoke of. 

Read what participants have said they enjoyed most about Keith’s Late Spring 2021 “Rock in the Late 1960s and Beyond” lecture series (offered online):

  • Keith is an amazing lecturer: knowledgeable, passionate and very able. It was a pleasure to be in his lecture series. I would definitely attend others taught by him.
  • I enjoyed the examples of songs and the way Keith put them into context. I have taken seven such LLeaP lecture series by Keith McCuaig and have greatly enjoyed them all.
  • Another great lecture series with Keith, he’s so knowledgeable about all kinds of music and I love the way he will illustrate a technique on his own guitar. I’m not a musician but I find his lectures fascinating and entertaining. I’d definitely take another one of Keith’s lecture series!
  • Keith is a wonderful lecturer and very knowledgeable of music. The pace is great and he’s so smooth with his comments and incorporating the chat from the participants.
  • I have taken other lectures with the lecturer and would not hesitate taking others should they be offered.
  • Keith is an excellent lecturer with a deep knowledge of music. He communicates so effectively. His examples are always just right.
  • Keith is an excellent lecturer. His knowledge of the subject matter is incredible. The Zoom format worked extremely well.
  • It’s a topic I quite enjoy and the lecturer is quite credible so it made for a great learning experience.
  • I always enjoy Keith’s lecture series. He is knowledgeable and engaging.
  • Keith provides great audiovisual. He is very relaxed and knows the subject matter very well and is able to interact with chat comments throughout lecture with great ease.
  • I loved learning about the various genres, and how one fed into another and then HEARING the music. It was fantastic to be able to meld together and make a narrative of bands & styles of music that were familiar to me, but which I didn’t fully understand.
  • I felt the lecturer was very well versed in the content. The information imparted, and the interesting tidbits provided by the lecturer and the other participants really enhanced the course.
  • I have taken many lecture series of Keith McCuaig. I always find them interesting & well presented.
  • I enjoyed the lecture ‘Rock in the Late 1960s and Beyond’. There was a lot covered and the lecturer was enthusiastic about every genre.
  • I really enjoyed Keith’s style of presentation. Lots of knowledge and good use of music examples
  • Lecturer is knowledgeable and his passion for the material shows. Excellent understanding of the evolution of the music and musical knowledge as well.

Read what participants have said they enjoyed most about Keith’s Early Spring 2021 “The Story of Rock and Roll: 1951-1966” lecture series (offered online):

  • Keith McCuaig is so interesting, enthusiastic and knowledgeable and was able to engage with the participants, even on Zoom. It all made for a very positive experience in these challenging times. Looking forward to another session!
  • I loved the topic and the pace of the lecture series. I enjoyed the multimedia aspects of the lectures with both audio alone and video clips to highlight the topics being discussed. The lecturer did a very good job of picking out relevant parts of the topic to discuss. It was most enjoyable! With some audios, Keith used hand signals or highlighting of a slide to point out musical elements that he was trying to highlight. For the non-music aficionados, myself being one of them, this was most helpful.
  • I grew up with this music, but never full appreciated how it all fit together across time as well as across genres. It has given me a new capacity for understanding and appreciating Rock. Keith was a superb lecturer. I particularly liked how he used his guitar to demonstrate various things, and his wide knowledge of Blues and other genres which so informed Rock. I’ll take more of his lectures.
  • Thanks to this lecture series, I now have a much better appreciation of the roots of rock music, and how the different sub-genres of rock music developed. I particularly appreciated how Keith wove in social, economic, and political historical aspects into his lectures.
  • [I appreciated] the subject matter and the lecturer’s knowledge. He presented such interesting information in a well-organized fashion. It was my era of teenage angst and coming into adulthood. A real retrospective journey down memory lane. Thanks for making me young again.
  • Highly engaging lecture series! Use of slides, live guitar demos, audio listening and analysis, plus questions and dialogue — all added to a captivating course. Keith’s organization, enthusiasm and knowledge of rock music/musicians and the socio-cultural backdrop, made for a fun and informative lecture series.
  • The lecturer was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his subject. He was very open to input from the participants and acknowledged comments and appreciated input. Great survey of the various musicians and styles. Would take another session by this lecturer.
  • Keith made the content fascinating – he is clearly very knowledgeable as well as very excited about the topic. The slides he used as well as the musical examples from his huge play list all contributed to an excellent lecture series.
  • Keith was very relaxed in presentation. He was extremely knowledgeable. Loved his style. He had good slides and his playlist enhanced the learning and joy in class. He easily interacted with and encouraged people to use the chat. So, lots of good discussion. Almost as if we were all sitting in same room. Look forward to taking more lectures with Keith.

Read what participants have said they enjoyed most about Keith’s “Actively Listening to Music” lecture series in 2018:

  • Mr. McCuaig’s enthusiasm and knowledge and obvious love of his subject was a treat. Almost immediately, I realized I was listening more appreciatively and hearing more! I wasn’t just tapping my foot. I learned so much.
  • Extremely informative and delightfully demonstrated with audio/visual and lecture’s musical instruments. Learned a lot about listening and identifying sounds/instruments.
  • Gym sessions will never be the same as I now find myself “dissecting” the music when the exercise becomes repetitive… I now need to update my play lists because he reintroduced me to some musicians from my younger days. Excellent experience for me!
  • Interesting material that was well presented by the lecturer. It certainly helps that Keith is a musician himself and was able to demonstrate some of the concepts with his guitar. His use of audio and video examples made the course more lively and engaging. An excellent lecturer!
  • I especially enjoyed the early classes about time signatures, musical forms and the categories of musical instruments. The instructor gave wonderful examples of music; that was most enjoyable. He was very helpful in aiding us to identify the sound of individual instruments.
  • I came away with an enhanced recognition of music, timing, and instruments. Keith brought all aspects of music to life. I look forward to his next series.
  • Learning how to distinguish different instruments in a piece of music. Hearing different effects in music.
  • Course seemed to be right at my level and it filled in many gaps in my knowledge. Did a great job demonstrating concepts on his own guitar/amp – found that really helpful as well. Music choices were well matched to the audience.
  • I appreciated the help I got with a specific piece (a favourite) of music./li>
  • Keith is so knowledgeable, he has a wealth of information, using music clips and YouTube clips enrich the learning experience; loved the series./li>
  • Material was interesting and easy to follow even for those with little knowledge of music.
  • Everything was just great. I liked the responses to questions and the open-minded attitude of the lecturer.
  • The lecturer’s enthusiasm for his subject and his ability to convey it to me. It was infectious and has kindled a desire in me to delve further into an understanding and appreciation of music.

Read what participants have said about “The Story of Rock and Roll: 1951-1966” and “Rock in the Late 1960s and Beyond”:

  • I learned much about music genres that I grew up with & shaped my values, while being thoroughly entertained by each & every lecture. The structure & content of each lecture was superbly integrated by an excellent & engaging lecturer. I will prioritize future lecture offerings by Keith.
  • Lecturer is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject matter. Also very personable.
  • I was very impressed with the lecturer’s profound knowledge of all genres of music and its history. Loved his use of the guitar for demonstration purposes, his playlists, and the reference materials (books, CDs) he provided. The contribution of various participants, personal knowledge and comments, also enhanced the experience.
  • Keith is fun and insightful with an incredible knowledge base. His passion for his subject area is infectious.
  • Very well structured lectures. Well integrated youtube videos, music samples. Use of his guitar to illustrate certain rhythms, riffs etc.
  • There was a very good overview of the various development streams of rock and roll (blues, folk, etc.). The discussion included relevant audio and some video clips. There was some good input from the participants that added to the whole experience. Keith can also demonstrate various guitar techniques.
  • Content, presentation, knowledge level of lecturer were all excellent.
  • [I enjoyed] Keith McCuaig’s enthusiasm for and expert knowledge of his subject, coupled with his liberal uses of sound bites from each song he discussed and the use of his own guitar to illustrate certain points. He is a gifted lecturer.
  • Keith is fantastic! His knowledge and style makes it interesting.
  • This lecture series was as entertaining as it was educational. The lecturer’s own musical talent & musical skills greatly enhanced his excellent analysis of evolving rock genres. Each lecture was extremely well structured & featured well selected content that strongly supported the lecturer’s analysis. Keith also managed discussion & audience participation with great skill, creating a very comfortable & harmonious classroom culture. Great lecture! I will take more offerings by this lecturer in future [LLeaP] terms!
  • Keith is fun and incredibly knowledgeable about his subject area.
  • This lecture series was excellent in all aspects.
  • The combination of the rock genres with the social and cultural context made this lecture series very interesting.
  • I most liked the blend of engaging lectures and participant engagement.
  • I learned so much from this lecture series, and the way in which the various genres of rock music were influenced by or developed in reaction to other earlier genres of rock music (as well as blues and country music). More importantly, I now listen to rock music differently and in a more discerning manner – much like the way that I listen to classical music or jazz.

Read what participants have said about “The Finer Points of Listening to Music”:

  • Keith is a fun, knowledgeable, and passionate lecturer. He has really done his homework and research in putting this lecture together. It is likely I will take every lecture he gives because he is so much fun and I always learn lots from him.
  • Keith McCuaig obviously has a real love of music. His enthusiasm and knowledge increased my enjoyment of music and has turned me from a passive listener to an active one. This, I think, was what he was trying to do for the class.
  • Perfect balance of new information presented with connections to what we already knew. Excellent scaffolding of material and content. Wide range of music used and increased my appreciation for many genres. Excellent teacher.
  • Keith is an excellent lecturer. The topic was fascinating and so well presented. I can’t wait to take another lecture from Keith next fall or winter.
  • I loved all of it, the mixed use of slides, music, and videos. Keith is phenomenal!
  • The series was excellent and I learned a lot about various instruments and music. I very much enjoyed the entire series and especially liked listening to all the different instruments and types of music.

Read what participants have said about “African American Music of the 1940s-1970s”:

  • Keith is a lovely gentle soul who is very respectful of the students. It was his approach combined with learning something about genres of music I was not familiar with that were the most satisfying aspects of the series for me.
  • Keith McCuaig is a rare talent – passionate and knowledgeable about his subject – infectious in his enthusiasm! A talented musician in his own right!
  • The lecturer was able to provide historical context, along with basic explanations of musical theory, for great songs in African American music.
  • The lecturer was so very cool. His ability to demonstrate on the guitar was an added bonus and his choice of music…outstanding. Class was informative but also SO MUCH FUN!!