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date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Middle adulthood is a complex developmental period that can involve heavy responsibilities. However, it can also be an opportune time to reflect on priorities that have emotional salience; explore novel ways to individuate and attend to neglected aspects of the self; and forges social integration that enhances a sense of meaning and purpose. This chapter explores how playing music can enter this midlife space and facilitate these positive outcomes. It does so by combining a conceptual framework on identity development with an autoethnographic narrative emerging from the first author’s recreational music making. The narrative adds experiential detail and first-hand description to the theoretical ideas presented about identity growth. A main theme in the chapter is that intrinsically motivated leisure activities like playing music can facilitate successful aging by helping a person create a more tailor-made identity that better suits their unique interests and circumstances.

Keywords: tailoring model, identity development, middle adulthood, intrinsic motivation, music making, leisure play, social integration, autoethnography

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