When Youth Musicking Is Play


Research Studies in Music Education




Wondering if there is more to learn from youth’s descriptions of the importance of music in their lives, the authors interviewed 35 youth (aged 12–22 years) using a constructivist grounded theory approach. The data analysis process led to the realization that youth were often describing episodes of play. The researchers synthesized essential characteristics of play from the scholarly play literature and particularized these characteristics with extracts from the interview conversations. The goal became to describe the play in youth musicking. The authors’ framework of musick-play reflects the interconnectedness of (a) conditions that constitute a musick-play-place; (b) sonic, and social processes that illuminate instances of youth musick-play and that highlight the centrality of self-caring in that play; (c) experiences that foster autonomy, competence, and relatedness (self-determination theory); and (d) opportunities for well-being. This framework is intended as a heuristic for those who seek to understand youth musicking through the lens of play. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Adolescents; Interviews; Recreative Music Methods; Self-Concept; Wellness and Well-Being; Young Adults

Indexed Terms

adolescent play; authenticity; musical play; self-care; self-determination theory; well-being; Adolescent Development; Emerging Adulthood; Awareness; Constructivism; Grounded Theory; Heuristics; Self-Determination; Well Being; Playfulness

Study Type

Grounded Theory Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type