9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Artistic Carries Building II, C6.08

The Socially Valued Practice of an Aesthetic Life for Improvising and Jazz Musicians

Survey data from a global sample of improvising and jazz musicians reveals around 34% do not evaluate their careers not yet established despite having pursued a musicians career for 16 years on average, 4% assess their careers maybe now or becoming established after an average of 21 years working as musicians. Of the 66% who reported they considered their careers established, having taken an average of 12 years to reach that stage, many experienced volatile incomes from their musical activities, with uncertain, or infrequent performance opportunities. This paper focuses on the qualitative reports of musicians from 10 countries concerning their attachments to their instruments, most report experiencing anxiety over performance and creative abilities, and personal and social dislocation when unable to access or play their instruments for 2 -10 days, their ambitions to ever improving their instrumental capacities and musical creativity, and their embedded social interactions with collaborative and mentor musicians, performing to responsive audiences, and relations with others within the artistic or cultural social world. These attachments, social relation and cumulating investments of capacities and opportunities toward music, limiting alternative career opportunities, partly explain their persistence with careers as improvising and jazz musicians, and the music's past creativity,