Lifespan Perspective Theory and (Classical) Musicians’ Careers

Dawn Bennett, Sophie Hennekam

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

11 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter discusses empirical research that employed "lifespan" perspective theory — specifically, selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) theory — to understand musicians' work in early, mid-, and late-career. Musicians' career decisions and identities were self-affirming in terms of career success, adaptability, and self-integrity, yet musicians also experienced significant identity struggles. The chapter describes a subset of data from ten classically-trained musicians to enable comparison between the practice of classical and other musicians. Most musicians had completed formal university-level education. There were no differences between the educational levels of classically-trained and other musicians; however, classically-trained musicians were more satisfied with their education, rating it 9.3 out of 10, compared with 7.2 overall. Classically-trained musicians reported working more hours in music-related activities, were six times less likely to work in the community sector, and 20% more likely to work in commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Classical Music Industry
EditorsChris Dromey, Julia Haferkorn
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315471099
ISBN (Print)9781138203693
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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