The musical identities of professional jazz musicians: A focus group investigation

Raymond MacDonald, Graeme Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Views about jazz, and being a jazz musician, were gathered from current Scottish practitioners. Jazz is a uniquely interactive creative practice, dependent on shared practices and meanings. These are inseparable from social and cultural contexts; however, research on musicians’ views has been concentrated on individuals in the USA. This study therefore uses focus group interviewing to access group musical identities in the UK. Reflexive issues of the research procedure are also addressed. Maintaining swing feel and a balance of collective and individual practices emerged as important. Eclectic professional practice created a demanding lifestyle; in this context, the group aspect of jazz is integral to related musical identities. Diverse discourses highlighted the constructed nature of these identities; focus groups are thus a useful method for this field. Consideration of the interview circumstances suggests how these function, and has implications for subsequent research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-419
Number of pages24
JournalPsychology of Music
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • creativity
  • identities
  • jazz
  • improvisation
  • personality

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