Developing musical and educational identities in university music students

Patrick K. Freer*, Dawn Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)


The musical and educational identities of music students are often at odds with one another, and yet teaching plays a role in the working lives of almost all musicians. Similar conflicts arise when music education majors view themselves as either musicians or educators, but not as both. This article reports results from parallel studies in two urban universities, one in Australia and the other in the USA. Seventy-two participants contributed drawings and textual responses on three surveys administered across a semester. Surveys were designed to record emerging perceptions of musician and teacher identities. Results indicated that the musical identity presents first, and that it provides a framework for making relevant the pedagogical techniques and theoretical models encountered in education courses and initial fieldwork. The combination of textual and non-textual data provided insights that would not otherwise have been evident, including the suggestion that emerging music teachers construct their identities consistent with the possible selves model of development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-284
Number of pages20
JournalMusic Education Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


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