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Commencing a Bachelor of Music degree: Career aspirations and the student musician identity

conference contribution
posted on 2020-06-03, 00:00 authored by D Blom, Judith BrownJudith Brown
The musician’s career lifespan often begins at a young age with an introduction to music through family or community connections followed by formal or informal training that continues in some way throughout their lives. For many musicians in developed cultures, there comes a point where they seek to put time aside to study their discipline intensively, and this may be via a university degree in music. Within Australia, the opportunities for the intensive study of music beyond secondary school are readily available, and cater for a diverse range of backgrounds, interests and career aspirations.This paper reports on a case study of two Australian universities that offer a Bachelor of Music program. One university can be described as regional, while the other is what Moodie (2012) calls a new generation university situated on the outer edges of a major city. The research examines the identities, hopes and aspirations of the music students at an important junction in their musician career lifespan: the commencement of their degree studies. It employs the lens of presage—the pre-existing learning and skills that students bring to a course of study. The case study specifically targeted students before they had commenced their studies in an effort to understand the presage factors, their musician identities as well as their hopes and aspirations for careers in music.The research found that students commenced their Bachelor of Music degrees with strong performer identities, and their learner identities noted low self-assessed knowledge of music theory and placed an emphasis on learning through formal and informal collaborative and group experiences. While their career aspirations remained predominantly focused on music performance and teaching, they expected to engage in careers that also included creative music making that relied upon song writing/composition and music technology skills.



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Almaty, Kazakhstan


International Society for Music Education

Place of Publication

Malvern, Victoria

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

External Author Affiliations

Western Sydney University

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

22nd ISME Commission on the Education of the Professional Musician (CEPROM 2018) International Seminar