Identity and the performing musician

Jane Oakland, Raymond MacDonald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the theoretical construct of identity and how it relates to performing musicians. In the introduction we define identity and outline a number of key theoretical perspectives. We then discuss musical identities, focusing on what they are and why they are important, with a particular emphasis on the music performer identity, which we see as a construction that is negotiated between the public performer, the private self, and the musician. Using case study examples, we emphasize the importance of identity work in promoting performer wellbeing, by which we mean the ability to adapt or modify
notions of self in relation to specific and ongoing events in order to manage the challenges of a performing career. Practical strategies are suggested to help musicians develop and maintain a healthy and sustainable approach to the negotiation of both musician identity and performer identity. The perspective adopted in this chapter is informed by the work of the first author as a performance psychologist.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Music Performance, Volume 1
EditorsGary MacPherson
Place of PublicationNYC
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780190056285
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks


Dive into the research topics of 'Identity and the performing musician'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Improvisation

    MacDonald, R., 2022, (Accepted/In press) The Oxford Handbook of Music Performance, Volume 1. McPherson, G. (ed.). 1 ed. NYC: Oxford University Press, Vol. 1. 21 p. (Oxford Handbooks).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Cite this