"Participating in the Classical Music World: Four Amateur Organisations and the Perspectives of their Members."


This study aims to contribute to scholarly knowledge by understanding some aspects of four amateur classical music groups - two choirs, an orchestra and an instrument oriented organisation - in Wellington, New Zealand. This study pays particular attention to the musicians, their musical life, the values they ascribe to their music-making, and their organisations' histories, aims and activities, repertoire, audiences, and membership and organisation.

In the small body of scholarly literature regarding amateur musicians few studies have been concerned with the singers' and instrumentalists' perspectives. This is an exploratory study that uses qualitative methods, including focus groups. It finds that the participants make music primarily for their aesthetic pleasure. Concerts provide a raison d'etre for the organisations and a motivating factor for their members to work to their highest attainable standards. The participants indicated that they generally regard the social significance of belonging to a music organisation as less important than their music-making.

Although the four organisations do not perform exclusively classical music, they employ conventions of the classical music world to shape the organisational structure of their music making, to determine who has authority to make musical decisions and to determine the skills and talents they value.

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