chapter  XI
The Leadership Role of Instrumental Teachers in Students’ Career Development
Negotiating Professional Identities
WithChristine Ngai Lam Yau
Pages 18

As they speculate on possible careers within diverse musical communities, many undergraduate music students go through a pivotal identity transition and need both guidance and leadership. Instrumental teachers can potentially discover a wealth of opportunities to extend their influence on their students and lead them through periods of personal and professional transformation. Based on a case study, this chapter explores the construction of professional identity experienced by a first-year undergraduate piano student in a United Kingdom music conservatoire, and ways in which his piano teacher leads that reflective process. Findings suggest that students’ professional identity negotiations involve a reflective process of envisioning a future career, which draws from subjective and objective factors as well as internal and external dialogues with instrumental teachers. These are balanced against each other in order to arrive at a vision that is grounded in the student’s personal interests and musical identity. The case study highlights a potential leadership role for instrumental and vocal teachers in supporting the transition and identity work of student musicians.