Double Life: Music as Work and Serious Leisure


  • Tuire Kuusi Sibelius Academy, UNIARTS Helsinki
  • Pertti Haukola



Music, Psychological Recovery, Serious Leisure, Well-Being at Work, Work.


Serious leisure (SL) is defined as an intensive, long-term free-time activity which has deep meaning for an individual and generates its own rewards without external incentives. SL has been studied intensively, yet studies on the mutual effects of an individual’s work and SL are scanty, especially when music is either the work or the SL. Our research addressed the connection between work and SL with both musicians and non-musicians. The data consisted of nine interviews. Four of the participants were professional musicians with various SLs (acting, woodwork, handicrafts, and urban culture). The other five (an architect, a librarian, two directors, and a project manager), conversely, had music as their SL. Qualitative content analysis of the data was conducted, and we analysed the data in relation to psychological recovery experiences (psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery and control), using the concepts of segmentation, spillover and compensation. The data were classified into three thematic clusters 1) Participants’ manner of talking about SL, 2) Aspects of SL, and 3) SL and work with further subdivisions into themes and categories. Our data did not show any difference between comments from the two participant groups. SL had positive effects on subjective well-being, notions of identity, and working abilities. It stimulated psychological recovery and gave meaning and content to the participants’ lives. We suggest that in today’s busy work life, employers should take advantage of SL and its positive effects. 


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