John Behling received his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He also earned his M.M. in Guitar Performance from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and he earned a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Olaf College.
His research interests include jazz and American vernacular music, the popular music of Africa and the African diaspora, and Celtic folk music. He is also interested in the role of music in the construction of individual and collective identities, improvisation as social practice, the use of narrative in ethnographic writing, and phenomenological approaches to ethnographic writing and fieldwork. He has conducted extensive fieldwork with Chicago jazz musicians, and he is currently working on a book about contemporary jazz communities in Chicago. His dissertation, "Musical Practices as Social Relations: Chicago Music Communities and the Everyday Significance of Playing Jazz", explores the ways that face-to-face musical communities use general jazz practices and repertoire to enact specific local social relations. He has presented his research at national conferences including the Society for Ethnomusicology, the American Musicological Society, and the Society for American Music.
Mr. Behling has taught a variety of musicology and applied music courses including: the History of American Music, Popular Music and Culture after 1950, World Music and Culture, Introduction to the Humanities, Improvisation: Jazz Performance and Its Impact on American Art and Literature, Jazz Combos, Jazz Guitar and Improvisation, and Classical Guitar. Mr. Behling is also an active performer. In addition to playing jazz, he has performed with Celtic musicians, ragtime ensembles, rhythm and blues bands, and theatre orchestras.