Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level





Jeffrey Murdock

Committee Member

Janet Knighten

Second Committee Member

Daniel Abrahams


Education, Lifelong learners, Lifelong musicianship, Musicians


The purpose of this study was to investigate causes for lifelong musicianship through examining the life experiences and influences of ten lifelong musicians. The participants in this study have played music starting in their childhood and into adulthood. Ages of participants range between 35 and 60 years of age. All participants have separate careers in conjunction with being active musicians.

Data collection was attained through a three phase process of an observation, interview, and collection of artifacts. Data was coded using open, focused, and axial coding and further analyzed for the purpose of identifying emerging themes. From the analysis, the researcher organized 14 themes focusing around life experiences and Social factors that led to interviewees’ lifelong participation in music. Common themes between participants include learning music by ear, engaging in music relating to participants on a personal level, and motivational factors for continued interest in music. The final chapter is a discussion section offering ways for educators and parents of young musicians to implement characteristics of lifelong musicianship.