Working in music: the trombonist

Burt, R. and Oakes, L. and Mills, J. (2006) Working in music: the trombonist. Research Perspectives in Music Education, 10 (1) pp. 27-43. ISSN 1947-7457


How can conservatoires best prepare their graduates to enter the current employment market in western classical music and continue to develop their careers as that market changes? Does the answer to this question vary between instruments and over time? This paper focuses on the special case of 23 trombonists who graduated from a UK conservatoire between 1961 and 2000, and considers their working lives and whether there are trends in their working lives. We situate the subset of trombonists within a larger set of brass players, which is in turn a subgroup of a larger dataset of over 1,000 alumni. We apply a method that has been specifically developed through the Working in Music research project to research the careers of musicians and that has already been used for studies focusing on pianists, violinists, and higher education music instrumental teachers. The present study reports that trombonist alumni presently do less work in performance than their peers, despite the opposite being true for the first five years after their graduation; recent graduate trombonists appear to be finding it more difficult to get performance work than their predecessors. Understanding the barriers encountered by alumni informs the institution how it can help to prepare brass students for their careers and how conservatoires in general can develop their careers education. ******* PLEASE NOTE: This article is available open access at the Official URL given below. *******

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