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ERIC Number: ED528479
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 342
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-7851-8
When Work Starts in Childhood: The Anticipatory Socialization Process of Classical Musicians
Gabor, Elena
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University
Classical music is distinguished among professions in several ways: work has to start in childhood in order to achieve proficiency; the training takes an average of 16 years in order to become a professional musician (Manturzewska, 1990); the cost of training is high; a high level of discipline is required to develop performance abilities (Sosniak, 1985, 1990); and the social recognition and rewards are modest in comparison with other occupations requiring similar training (Frederickson & Rooney, 1995). This research project focused on the work socialization experiences of teenage classical musicians who have a parent working as a classical musician (teaching, performing, composing, or conducting classical music). The children also had at least five years of regular training with independent recitals and participation in competitions. Twenty such dyads were sampled and interviewed, yielding 48 interviews which produced over 1,000 pages of single-spaced text. This study used a social constructionist framework to analyze the adoption (or rejection) of values, ideas, and culture of the classical music field as they appeared in teenagers' discourses about work and career choices. By applying theoretical concepts such as turning points and memorable messages, this study examined how musicians in the Generation Y made sense of memorable messages from parents regarding the meaning of work and careers and what they learned about the business aspects of a musical career. The role of the body in this career was also investigated. First, the analysis of the interviews revealed that young musicians' experiences were marked by eleven turning points that increased or decreased their identification with the occupation: being introduced to music, finding the right mentor; informal recognition of skill; formal recognition of skill; embracing the work ethic; losing/excusing the mentor; choosing a major; getting cold feet; crystallization of career decision; finding one's sound; losing one's sound. Overall, the fact that these work socialization experiences took place in childhood led to an early identification with this occupation and less time to investigate other careers. Secondly, the manner in which young musicians discursively articulated the definition of the professional musician revealed the ambiguity that surrounds the status of the musician. Each of the following criteria was presented by participants as sufficient for one to be a professional musician: being paid for the work, having a high level of skill, having a degree in music, and finding the focus of one's life. Thirdly, the young musicians received three types of memorable messages from their parents that functioned as lessons of business wisdom: descriptive messages regarding the occupational climate (e.g., "Musicians are poor"); idealistic messages (e.g., "Music is important," "The goal is perfection"); and action-oriented messages (e.g., "Don't go into music;" "Get in the union"). These messages were not always straight forward, but rather nuanced and filled with contradictions. Finally, the body of the musician was found to function on multiple levels as object of work, message and obstacle. This project contributes to organizational socialization and career literature by interrogating some common notions about the nature and meanings of work. In particular, findings challenge the notion that childhood is a workless, anticipatory period and by inviting readers to consider children musicians as having careers. Findings also have implications for the literature on child labor, realistic job previews, and entrepreneurship. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A