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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the motivations of adults in choosing to participate in community orchestras. This paper identifies many of those motivations and examines the reasons and implications of why the adults in the study chose to continue to play in community orchestras. The investigation was conducted in 2007 via a case study of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, a community orchestra located in Northern New Jersey. The adults selected for interview were members of the orchestra. The responses were uniform: love of playing one’s instrument, desire for musical challenge, inspiration for practice and commitment to the organization. There was virtually no difference in response from professional vs. non-professional musicians. The data is valuable in understanding the needs of middle-aged adult learners, informal learning practices and establishing goals for music educators in training students for community music involvement after high school.

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