Theses Doctoral

The Impacts of High-Level Training: Five Musicians Who Transferred Their Skills to New Professions

Kim, Theresa Ja-Young

This study examines five highly trained musicians who made the life-changing decision to leave their occupations and pursue professions in completely new fields. Portraitures were created to illustrate how these individuals went on to forge successful careers even though their new positions required vastly different skillsets. Through qualitative analysis, it was discovered that numerous skills appear to be transferable from long-term musical training to various career paths. By examining people who have excelled in both domains, common traits were uncovered and grouped into four categories: Cognitive, Expressive, Socio-Behavioral, and Skills Particular to the Craft.The purpose of this research was to identify the skills that musicians can carry over into new professions. Those who may be considering alternative fields of work as well as employers in non-musical arenas may discover that musicians can be desirable candidates for hire because of their numerous transferable skills. Understanding the training process of musicians may also help gather insights for improving curricula which conservatories can employ to prepare graduates for careers. Retrospective feedback from alumni provided this study with a backdrop as to whether coursework offered at their schools aligned with modern industry conditions. After conducting interviews, findings from this study revealed that highly trained musicians do possess many skills that can transfer into new domains, though hard skills should be acquired in the new field. However, the foundation on which a musician's skillset is built provides a formidable bedrock on which a variety of successful careers can be cultivated.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Abeles, Harold
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
March 2, 2018