Identity in crisis: the role of work in the formation and renegotiation of a musical identity

Jane Oakland, Raymond Macdonald, Paul Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents a qualitative investigation into the effects of enforced occupational change on a professional musical identity. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is used to explore the meaning of redundancy for six professional opera choristers. The paper highlights aspects of career disruption that are unique to singers who make their living using a biologically embedded instrument. Findings show the 'opera singer' identity to be a professional identity which consists of several subjective sub-identities. Adaptation to change is dependent on the salience given to these subjective identities. It is suggested that if more attention is given to these subjective sub-identities during a professional career, musicians may be better prepared for unexpected disruption to an established career pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Music Education
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2013


  • musical identity
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • occupational change


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