Classical instrumental musicians: educating for sustainable professional practice

Dawn Elizabeth Bennett

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This study extends understanding of the careers of classical instrumental musicians within the cultural industries, and ascertains the extent to which professional practice is reflected within current classical performance-based music education and training. Little is known about the careers of classically trained instrumental musicians in terms of the activities in which they engage and the skills and attributes used to sustain their professional practice, and there is also widespread lack of understanding about the music industry and the wider cultural industries. The extent to which education and training reflects the careers of music performance graduates has gained heightened exposure at the same time as higher education institutions have become increasingly accountable for the employability of graduates, and yet much of the available literature has only tangential relevance and there remains a shortage of literature relating to the complex area of creative practice. The research approach for the study bridges both the interpretive and normative paradigms. Using survey and interview methods, the study employs three distinct but interrelated data collections to investigate sustainable professional practice through analysis of musicians’ careers, performance-based education and training, and the cultural industries. The study identifies the longitudinal characteristics of musicians’ professional practice and presents in a conditional matrix the intrinsic and extrinsic influences that impact upon it. The study proposes a practitioner-focussed Arts Cultural Practice (ACP) framework that consists of four practitioner-focussed, non-hierarchical groups which were determined through analysis of the major foci characterising roles within the cultural industries. As such, the ACP framework represents a new paradigm of sustainable practice that circumvents existing barriers; submitting a non-hierarchical view of cultural practice that clearly indicates the potential for an exciting diversity of holistic practice often not considered by practitioners. The ACP curricular model posits the collaborative delivery of generic skills across artforms. This study substantiates the generic skills used by artists throughout the cultural industries, and confirms the rationale for education and training which considers the sustainability of music graduates’ careers as arts cultural practitioners. Thus, individual strengths and talents should be developed according to the intrinsic and extrinsic influences which drive the passion for arts practice.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2005


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