Psychology of Music
School of Education
Adolescents require meaningful and achievable musical possible selves to imagine a future that includes music. Previous research has investigated how to support tertiary music students in their career identity development; however, adolescents make consequential decisions regarding future music study and career intentions in secondary school. This article reports on the intersections and conflicts between adolescent boys’ musical possible selves, university study intentions, and parent values. Research was conducted at an Australian independent K-12 boys’ school using one-on-one semi-structured interviews incorporating a “draw and tell” artifact elicitation technique with Year 12 students and their parents. Two resonating narratives of adolescent boys studying class music are presented as a means of examining their developing musical identities. Findings reveal the vulnerability of students’ musical possible selves at the end of secondary school as they re-evaluate the role of music in their lives. The mothers of these two students did not highly value music university study and careers and actively intervened to disrupt their sons’ developing musical possible selves. This article proposes the development of specialized school music pathway education, enabling adolescents and parents to make more informed decisions on prospective university music study, careers, and the role of music in their futures.
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