Career Choices in Music beyond the Pandemic: Musical and Psychological Perspectives

Career Choices in Music beyond the Pandemic: Musical and Psychological Perspectives

by Julie Jaffee Nagel
Career Choices in Music beyond the Pandemic: Musical and Psychological Perspectives

Career Choices in Music beyond the Pandemic: Musical and Psychological Perspectives

by Julie Jaffee Nagel


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“A must-read for musicians young and old as well as general readers.” — Joseph W. Polisi, President Emeritus, The Juilliard School

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we make in our lifetime. Career choice is more than just working to earn a living but also an important window into how we feel about ourselves. In this groundbreaking and provocative book, musician and psychologist Julie Jaffee Nagel explores how musicians’ work beyond the COVID-19 pandemic casts a light upon the necessity of rethinking, rebuilding, and possibly redesigning our concept of careers and music education in the arts.

The book takes an interdisciplinary approach to a wide range of pressing topics such as career disillusionment, mental health in relation to lack of professional and personal security, the unavailability of jobs that reflect the depth of the musician’s formal training and talent, and the healing role and value of musicians in a post-pandemic world. The pandemic was an unwelcome and sudden shock in the lives and careers of countless musicians, with many experiencing crises. Importantly, Nagel emphasizes that this trauma also has the potential to energize and expand horizons for rewarding, creative work. Musicians’ gifts include resilience and discipline, and their art has important social value. Music has the power to be an aural antidote to some of society’s ills—during trying times, it is vitally important to express and share the musician’s artistic imagination and creativity in teaching studios, on stage, and through off stage interactions with others.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538168394
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 03/01/2023
Pages: 150
Product dimensions: 5.93(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

Julie Jaffee Nagel brings her unique, interdisciplinary background and education in mental health and music to understanding the personality of the musician, performance anxiety, the psychological impact of COVID-19 on music careers, and the value of music in mental life and in promoting social justice. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School, The University of Michigan, and The Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Nagel has received grants from the Ernst and Gertrude Ticho Foundation and the American Psychoanalytic Foundation to support her interdisciplinary work and outreach. She is in private practice in Dexter, Michigan. Visit

Table of Contents

Prelude Acknowledgments Chapter 1 Work Chapter 2 Musicians and Money in the Wake of the Pandemic Some Financial Facts: A Wake Up Call What Do Musicians Contribute? The Musician as “Product” Creative Responses to the Pandemic Why Should You Care About Music? Your Money or Your Life Chapter 3 Musical Development and Psychological Development Erik Erikson: Development Over a Lifetime “Ratios”: Life as a Balancing Act Carolyn’s Monkey Erikson’s Eight Stages for the Musician Early Stages (ages 1-4) Middle Stages (ages 5-7) Late Stage: Stage 8 (ages 65+) Chapter 4 The Meaning of Money and “Psychic Income” Early Issues about Giving and Receiving Attention and Money: Symbolic Nourishment What Do Money and Stage Fright Share in Common? How Much are You Worth? Patrons and Angels Buying Love Nourishing Starving Artists Chapter 5 Four Types of Personality Who Seek Music Careers The Identity Status Interview The Four Categories of the ISI What Does ISI Data Explain? Ken: Integrating Past and Present Conclusion: Research and Clinical Work Chapter 6 Pursuit of Perfection The Disillusionment of Omnipotence Growing Pains and Emotional Growth Pursuit of Perfection: All the Right Notes Ms. G Mr. D Resolution of Disillusionment: Grieving, Mourning, and Moving Forward Chapter 7 The Golden Allure of Celebrity: Reflections on Boundary Crossings in Psychoanalysis and Music Planning for the Big Meeting Temptations Deeply Disappointed The #MeToo Movement and Music Education A “Perfect Storm”: Private Music Lessons A Rescue through “Love” A Higher Cost for Education Institutional Collusions The Bad Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree Treatment Issues Coda Chapter 8 Rethinking Music Education Asked and (as Yet) Unanswered Questions Teaching Talented Musicians: The University and Conservatory Nurturing Healthy Musicians How to Destroy Creativity in Music Students: A Paraphrase of Otto Kernberg Educating Healthy People Who Are Musicians A Healthy Music Profession Chapter 9 Music and Mind Outside the Box The Value of Music: Past and Future The Impact of Music: Historical Precedents Musicians and Mental Health Professionals as Non-Traditional First Responders Music and Therapy in and beyond the Consulting Room Beyond the Teaching Studio and Concert Hall Has Anything Good Resulted from the Pandemic? A Conclusion and a Beginning About the Author
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