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date: 22 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The motivations and experiences of adults who participate in music making have attracted increasing research attention in recent years, but less is known about the probably far greater number who have “given up” playing an instrument or lapsed in their participation: what are the factors that cause people to cease their involvement in instrumental learning, and how are these different from the views of participation expressed by continuing players? Life history interviews with current and lapsed members of amateur performing groups are used here to explore the long-term impact of music education. Even when the opportunity to make music has been set aside, benefits remain of open-mindedness to the arts, support for children’s musical education, and understanding of the value of leisure and creativity. These findings lead to conclusions about how foundations for musical leisure and lifelong learning could be laid in formative education, and the routes back into musical engagement made more accessible in adulthood.

Keywords: musical participation, lapsed participation, instrumental learning, lifelong learning

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