Holding multiple musical identities: The portfolio musician

Jennifer Rowley*, Anna Reid, Dawn Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


    A breadth of literature on music education and careers illustrates that the working lives of musicians are diverse and complex, and yet music graduates appear to struggle to create and sustain their careers. With a focus on career, curriculum and pedagogical approaches, this chapter considers how and in what contexts musicians develop the multiple musical identities under which the complex work of a musician might be negotiated. The chapter’s empirical component explores the narratives of 24 students enrolled at an Australian conservatorium. The students reported a range of experience in both music and non-music work and the capacity to shift their musician identity in line with specific work and learning situations. The data reveal complex relationships between participants’ experiences of concurrent formal learning and work. Gendered differences in the types of work emerged. Of note, most male musicians self-assessed as more confident than their female peers in each of five quantitative measures ranging from academic self-efficacy to ethical and responsible behaviour. Rather than providing a core curriculum for practice and critical thinking for potential music workers, we argue that tertiary education should contribute to the musician identity that is already developing on the basis of students’ early music and non-music work and that musician identity is enacted in students’ early workplaces.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of music psychology in education and the community
    EditorsAndrea Creech, Donald A. Hodges, Susan Hallam
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429295362
    ISBN (Print)9780367271800
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2021


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