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My research and me

Last week was a proud moment for me as my first academic paper was published.

This paper is part of my own doctoral research and opens the door for those of us involved with Tonic to present some real ‘shop floor’ research evidence to give others an insight into what it is really like from a musician-centric perspective.

My paper talks about how musicians derive a great deal of pride from their professional musicking alongside it also being a source of hopeless judgement and criticism at different times throughout the career journey.

Through the voices of the seven musicians in my study I was able to better understand my own experience in the music industry. Most of us continually hear the common trope of the industry being destructive etc…but it can also help us to achieve way beyond our own expectations and give us a sense of immense pride.

This pride was especially apparent in the musicians I interviewed and also within my own continuing musicking life. For many of us, the music industry can be a place of opportunity that we may have never had before. I didn’t have the luxury of academic qualifications or wealth when I was starting my adult life. In a way it was grim and hopeless at times, music gave me something to believe in.

A quest to ‘make it’, and guess what, I did! It took me many years, hard graft and a lot of luck but here I stand as an example of what music can provide and facilitate. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone as there is always a lot of luck involved (to a certain extent) but musicking really did save me. It allowed me to solidify my identity, cultivate friendships and develop a sense of discipline alongside proving an emotional buffer. For me these achievements are far bigger than the record label commodity stuff. It is a holistic essence far bigger than a Spotify playlist. This angle of music in general is often overlooked in the world of the recent phenomena of the ‘music industry’ therapist.

This is due to, in part the fact that most of this demographic come from an ‘industry-centric’, they can often fail to see the whole person enveloped in music, not just occupational music. It was this perspective that fuelled my own study into this area.

This paper is the first of a series of 6 pieces of research that will be staggered throughout the year so keep an eye out. Also, Tonic music have now started their own research into an important area…but I’m not sure whether I can make this public right now!

The research that both myself and Tonic are conducting will go towards helping people to relate to the struggles and benefits of being a musician and also towards the free interventions that can help musicians such as the Tonic Rider Peer Support Groups etc


Adam Ficek hosts a monthly show 'Tonic Music' on Totally Wired Radio, where he talks to various guests about music and mental health. You can listen again to any of the previous show on the Tonic Music Mixcloud page.


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