Music Career Opportunities and Career Compatibility: Interviews with University Music Faculty Members and Professional Musicians

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This study used a semistructured interview schedule to identify the music career opportunities available to students who graduate with an undergraduate music degree, and the skills, interests, work values, and personal characteristics that may determine a person's suitability for these music careers. Six university faculty members from each of the 11 NASM-accredited undergraduate music degree fields participated in the study (n = 66). Fourteen professional musicians who were recommended by these faculty members also participated in the study. Concerning the musical and non-musical skills that may determine a person's suitability for a music career, participants consistently noted the importance of ... continued below

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Branscome, Eric E. May 2010.

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  • Branscome, Eric E.

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This study used a semistructured interview schedule to identify the music career opportunities available to students who graduate with an undergraduate music degree, and the skills, interests, work values, and personal characteristics that may determine a person's suitability for these music careers. Six university faculty members from each of the 11 NASM-accredited undergraduate music degree fields participated in the study (n = 66). Fourteen professional musicians who were recommended by these faculty members also participated in the study. Concerning the musical and non-musical skills that may determine a person's suitability for a music career, participants consistently noted the importance of performance skills in their respective fields. Participants also consistently cited people skills, and noted that most musicians interact with people on a daily basis, and use people skills to build social networks that may lead to employment. When asked about the interests that may lead someone to a music career, participants commonly cited the importance of good high school ensemble experiences in students' music career decisions. Concerning the rewarding aspects of music careers, many participants noted that they were more rewarded by the ability to support themselves doing what they loved, than by fame or wealth. Concerning the personal characteristics that may determine music career compatibility, participants noted that tenacity is essential to contend with intense competition, extended periods of unemployment, and other common struggles of professional musicians. When asked about music career opportunities in their respective fields, participants reported numerous music careers, some of which were excluded from previous music career inventories. In addition, participants noted that there may be careers for non-musicians in some music career fields. Participants also noted that some music careers may be listed in more than one music career field, creating potential confusion for music career advisors. Finally, participants noted transitions in many music careers that may change the professional expectations of these careers.

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  • May 2010

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  • Sept. 10, 2010, 1:20 a.m.

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  • Jan. 11, 2011, 10:57 a.m.

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Branscome, Eric E. Music Career Opportunities and Career Compatibility: Interviews with University Music Faculty Members and Professional Musicians, dissertation, May 2010; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28398/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .