The purpose of this study was to investigate music learning, motivations, and meaning construction among members of two senior adult music ensembles. This study employed a multiple case study design, in which members of a New Horizons band and orchestra located in two different cities were observed and interviewed over a period of several months. Verbatim interview transcripts, field notes and videotaped recordings of imbedded observations, and artifacts served as primary data sources for this study. Findings emerging from the data illustrated a social and musical culture defined by the following themes: (a) members' preferred attributes of conductor-teacher effectiveness; (b) the impact of the sonic qualities of a large ensemble on individual members; (c) individual members' personal encounters with music making, alone and in a group, and the phenomena affecting those experiences. Members of both ensembles were motivated to play an instrument in a New Horizons ensemble by the camaraderie of group music making, including social interaction and shared humor, and the perceived benefits of music making that enhance an improved sense of well-being. In both ensembles, members use music making to facilitate changes in adult roles and identities.
The data illustrated three themes of meaning construction and sense making: (a) members embraced music and music learning as a means to enhance the time they have remaining while engaging in long-term self-directed learning; (b) members focused upon music making as a learning process rather than an objective; and (c) amidst the experience and challenges unique to senior adults, members used music making to regain a sense of control over their lives.
Finally, the findings of this study suggest recommendations for practice and research that deal with (a) lifelong music learning and providing senior adults various opportunities to make music; (b) how to teach senior adult musicians; (c) increased cooperation among school and community musicians and music educators; (d) the interests of adult musicians classified as amateurs and hobbyists (Gates, 1991); and (e) the future of the New Horizons movement and adult music education.
|School:||Arizona State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Gerontology, Adult education, Music education|
|Keywords:||Adult music education, Meaning construction, Motivation, Music learning, New Horizons, New Horizons ensembles, Older adults, Senior adult musicians|
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