Longitudinal Study
of Music Involvement

About the Study

Shasa is conducting an ongoing longitudinal study of musicians, the Longitudinal Study of Music Involvement (LSMI). The study began in Summer 2001 with 567 participants from two premier summer music programs for high school students in the United States, the Interlochen Arts Camp and Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

A total of 6 major surveys have occurred, along with several brief updates, from 2001 to 2012. Another survey is anticipated. Although longitudinal study designs are often called for in careers research, they are nonetheless all too rare (Dobrow & Weisman, 2021). The existing eleven years of proprietary data in this longitudinal dataset is thus already highly unusual—and extending this study with another wave of data collection, capturing 25+ years of participants’ lives from roughly age 17 to 42, would be incredible and distinctive in covering this significant portion of people’s lives. 

See below to for data collections to date.

Shasa Dobrow Longitudinal-study-of-music-involvement

Goal of the Study

Why do so many young musicians make the seemingly irrational decision to pursue the extraordinarily competitive, challenging professional music career path? Despite the widespread career advice communicated by music teachers to their students, “Do music if it’s the only thing you can do,” and very low job availability, the job market for musicians across genres is characterized by an extremely high supply of talented, motivated people.

This study explores how musicians’ relationship with music develops throughout their lives. Specifically, the heart of this study is the attempt to understand the degree to which a person experiences a calling toward music, and examines both antecedents and consequences of calling.

Impact of Study

This study has generated impact both in popular and academic outlets. You can read more about key findings from this study on workties.org and blogs.lse.ac.uk

Or listen below

Academic papers based on this study have been published in several leading journals and have received considerable recognition in the form of multiple best paper awards, spanning 2004 to 2021.

Refereed Articles

Dobrow, S. R. & Heller, D. 2015. “Follow your heart or your head? A longitudinal study of the facilitating role of calling and ability in the pursuit of a challenging career.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(3), 695-712. 

Dobrow, S. R. 2013. “Dynamics of calling: A longitudinal study of musicians.” Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(4), 431-452.

Dobrow, S. R. & Tosti-Kharas, J. 2012. “Listen to your heart? Calling and receptivity to career advice.” Journal of Career Assessment, 20(3): 264-280. Special Issue: Research on Work as a Calling.

Dobrow, S. R. & Tosti-Kharas, J. 2011. “Calling: The development of a scale measure.” Personnel Psychology, 64(4): 1001-1049.

Book Chapters

Dobrow, S. R. & Weisman, H., “Only time will tell: Conducting longitudinal research of careers.” 2021. In Jennifer Tosti-Kharas and Wendy Murphy (Eds.), Handbook for Research Methods in Careers. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

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