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Questions arising from the views of some members of four amateur classical music organizations

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This article describes some features and questions raised by my study of four amateur classical music groups two choirs, an orchestra and an instrument-oriented organization in Wellington, New Zealand. The study paid particular attention to the musicians, our discussions of their musical life, the values they ascribe to their music-making and their organizations. In the small body of scholarly literature regarding amateur musicians few studies have been concerned with the singers' and instrumentalists' perspectives. This exploratory study used qualitative methods, including focus groups, and found that the participants join music organizations primarily for the satisfaction of making music that they value. Concerts provide a raison d'tre for the organizations and a motivating factor for their members to work to their highest attainable standards. The participants indicated that they generally regard the social significance of belonging to a music organization as less important than their music-making. Although the four organizations do not perform classical music exclusively, the study's participants base their aesthetics and the negotiation of their relationships in their music organizations on the conventions of the classical music practices they learned initially in their youth.

Keywords: New Zealand; amateur musician; amateur orchestra; choir; motivation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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