The journeyman musician, the phoenix, and the spiritual musician : experiences of combining music with salaried employment
Chappell, Gwendolyn Joy
A basic interpretative research design (Merriam, 2002) was used to investigate the research question, “What is the experience of being involved with music while also employed in a professional occupation?” This study contributes to the research on meaning and purpose in life and in work. Three professionals, one man and two women, were interviewed using in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Participants were invited to provide a brief personal history and describe areas of life and work that they found challenging as well as rewarding and / or meaningful. Narratives were developed from the participants’ interviews. Themes that emerged from the data included the participants’ experiences of meaning and purpose. All three participants identified their salaried employment as providing meaning in their lives. Their experience of music included a transcendent dimension, a sense of connection to others, a higher self, or to God. Factors that may have encouraged or prohibited the participants’ achievement in work or music included early learning experiences, exposure to role models and mentoring opportunities, financial concerns, socioeconomic status, social support, psychological traits, and self-efficacy beliefs. This study has relevance for individuals seeking meaning and purpose in their own lives. The narratives exemplified the lives of three individuals with the coping skills, resiliencies, and strengths required to thrive personally and professionally and attain a high level of achievement in more than one area. The narratives may also interest individuals interested in pursuing a career in the arts, music in particular. This study is also relevant for parents, teachers, and career counsellors who want to facilitate the development of potential and encourage high achievement in their children, students, and clients. Career counsellors might benefit from a greater understanding of the aspects of life and work that affect the individuals’ experiences and ability to pursue a high level of achievement. Early recognition of talent, followed by parental support and discipline as well as professional recognition would be a good start. Encouragement in the form of acknowledgement and financial assistance would continue to develop the individual’s ability. However, external resources would not be sufficient without the internal resources, such as responsibility, courage, optimism, hope, perseverance, autonomy, and self-acceptance. Further study could research the application of positive psychology to enhance the development of talent and/or achievement.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramEducational Psychology and Special Education
SupervisorReekie, Fred A.; Nicol, Jennifer A. J.
Copyright DateMarch 2005