Chapter 2 - Sanity, Madness and Music

‘Sanity, Madness and Music’ discusses persistent tropes about artistic creativity in the context of an emerging ‘new language of mental health’ when discussing wellbeing and the mental health of musicians. Drawing on the work of David Smail the authors argue that external interests have been noticeably absent or overlooked in the development of thought around psychology and the creative individual, and that people’s subjective understand of their relative mental states is crucial in an environment where the terms ‘wellbeing’ and ‘mental health’ both suffer from terminological and definitional ambiguity. This conceptualisation leads to the second part of this chapter outlining the methodological approach adopted in the author’s research. After outlining the quantitative findings of a large survey of 2,211 musical workers, the chapter concludes by outlining why it was so crucial to go on to undertake a qualitative study and hear from musicians themselves, in their own words, about how they were experiencing their creative lives, and their subjective perception of how this impacts on their mental health and wellbeing.

Om Podcasten

An invaluable guide for those currently making their career in music. By listening to how musicians think and feel about their working lives, this book shows that if making music is therapeutic, making a career from it can be traumatic. It shows how careers based on passion have become more insecure and devalued, artistic merit and intimate self-disclosures are the focus of unremitting scrutiny, & personal relationships and social networks are bound up with calculative transactions. Going beyond self-help strategies, the authors challenge the industry to make transformative structural change.