Title page for ETD etd-04262012-000345

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Taylor, Pamela G.
URN etd-04262012-000345
Title The Role of Music-Making in the Identity Construction of Members of an Adult Community Band
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Byo, James L. Committee Chair
Bartolome, Sarah Committee Member
Kennedy, Eugene Committee Member
Orman, Evelyn Committee Member
King, Jeremy Dean's Representative
  • Identity
  • Community Band
Date of Defense 2012-04-04
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to ascertain how music-making and band membership contributed to the identities of members of the New Orleans Concert Band and how their identities influenced their behaviors. The musician role identity of members of the New Orleans Concert Band, an adult community band, was examined through the lens of identity theory using ethnographic methods. Findings were based upon interviews with 37 band members, observations of rehearsals and concerts, and an examination of the organization’s documents.

Results indicated that members valued individual and group music-making, literature played by the band, and social aspects of both music-making and group membership, but that the act of music-making had the most value. Members expressed and demonstrated a strong commitment to the activity of music-making and to band membership. Six indicators of commitment emerged from the findings: length of tenure, attendance, priority, leadership, commitment to other members, and frustration with an inability to do more. They identified themselves as music-makers, although some had difficulty calling themselves musicians. Once established, the musician role identity of participants placed high in their identity salience hierarchies. Using Stebbins’ theory of serious leisure as a framework, findings suggested that participants were amateurs that engage in a serious leisure activity that for some had become equivalent to a career.

A secondary purpose of this study was to explore the connection between the New Orleans Concert Band and the concept of Community Music as it is described in the literature. The New Orleans Concert Band is an adult community concert band that performs traditional and contemporary band literature in a structured, hierarchical rehearsal setting with members who must meet prescribed criteria before being admitted. Community Music promotes music-making in settings and within groups that employ an organic approach to organization and music-making, and emphasize equal opportunities for all who choose to participate. Although the structure and goal orientation of the New Orleans Concert Band are not the same as those of Community Music, they appear to share the belief that the act of music-making is the primary purpose of music.

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