Re-defining 'Me': exploring career transition and the experience of loss in the context of redundancy for professional opera choristers

Jane Oakland, Raymond A. MacDonald, Paul Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an in-depth, qualitative investigation into the impact of job loss for seven opera choristers. The paper focuses on their perception of this loss and how this perception influences the experience of career transition and subsequent redefinition of the self. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is used to highlight the individual nature of dealing with loss and transition. Discussion centres on three themes which best capture the psychological process involved in the renegotiation of self for the participants. Analysis shows that a key issue in adapting to career transition is re-defining what it means to be a singer without the validation of full-time employment. The Organismic Valuing Theory of growth after adversity (Joseph & Linley, 2005) is used as a framework within which to discuss individual fluctuations between searching to develop new areas of the self and restoring the established self. The study concludes that singers are unique in the employment market because of their relationship to their embodied voice. For the seven participants, the experience of career disruption is determined by their ability to re-evaluate the role of singing as a primary agent of self-formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-147
Number of pages13
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2012


  • nterpretative Phenomenological Analysis
  • loss
  • opera singers
  • redundancy

Cite this