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This study presents a qualitative investigation into the effects of enforced occupational change on a professional musical identity. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is used to explore the meaning of redundancy for six professional opera choristers. The paper highlights aspects of career disruption that are unique to singers who make their living using a biologically embedded instrument. Findings show the ‘opera singer’ identity to be a professional identity which consists of several subjective sub-identities. Adaptation to change is dependent on the salience given to these subjective identities. It is suggested that if more attention is given to these subjective sub-identities during a professional career, musicians may be better prepared for unexpected disruption to an established career pattern.
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