New Research Examines Wellbeing of Professional Musicians

A new RNCM research project will use a series of interviews to explore the experiences of seasoned professional orchestral musicians

The project, The experiences of seasoned professional musicians in the orchestral workplace, is partially supported by Help Musicians UK and will take place during the spring and summer terms of 2020. It brings together Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Susanna Cohen and Professor Jane Ginsborg, who will be working together on the project.

Dr Susanna Cohen

Susanna, whose PhD focused on orchestral musicians’ experiences of music performance anxiety and flow (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), said: ‘As someone who has spent many years playing in orchestras, I have a particular interest in the well-being of professional and student performing musicians.

‘This project provides an exciting opportunity to investigate the experiences of seasoned professional orchestral musicians – a population hitherto barely examined in the literature.’

Jane Ginsborg, Associate Director of Research at the RNCM said of the project: ‘This investigation of seasoned musicians’ experiences is really valuable since most lifespan research on musicians focuses on the early years. We know something about the difficulties associated with transitions through different stages of life and work, generally, but little is known, as yet, as to the nature of the wisdom orchestral musicians accumulate throughout their long careers. This project has the potential to be of huge interest to all musicians, those who teach them and those who support them.

‘I’m thrilled that Susanna has chosen to spend five months at the RNCM exploring the experiences of seasoned orchestral musicians. We are very lucky to be able to support and work with visiting post-doctoral researchers (among others), and Susanna follows in the footsteps of several equally distinguished colleagues all of whom have co-authored journal articles with me, or are in the process of doing so: Professor Warren Brodsky (notational audiation); Dr Maria Briggs (the training of opera students); Dr Lotte Latukefu (the development of portfolio careers); and A/Prof. Bronwen Ackermann (health advisory pathways for musicans).’

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