You are on page 1of 9

The Career Experience of the Symphony Musician

Author(s): David L. Westby


Source: Social Forces, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Mar., 1960), pp. 223-230
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2574085 .
Accessed: 14/06/2014 07:40

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of
content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms
of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Oxford University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Social Forces.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
CAREER EXPERIENCE OF THE SYMPHONY MUSICIAN 223

THE CAREER EXPERIENCE OF THE


SYMPHONY MUSICIAN*
DAVID L. WESTBY
MichiganState University

T HE situationof the symphonymusician selected group of symphony musicians (those


in the United States today is reflective comprising one major symphony orchestra) in
of the somewhat tenuous economic status the context of the organization of symphonic
of symphonic music as an art form offering mean- music in the United States. The material discussed
ingful aesthetic experience to a limited public. here is drawn from a larger study centering on the
The symphony musician is caught between the orchestra as a work group. The study was con-
potent forces of general public apathy, a manage- ceived as broadly exploratory in design, and the
ment dominated labor market, and a union that material presented below will be cast in an inter-
in some ways works against his best interests. To pretive mode.' The perspectives gained in this
these may be added the effects of a recording effort will be utilized in the formulation of a study
industry over which he has little control and which of considerably broader scope, encompassing a
offershim only short-term rewardswhile extracting number of representative orchestras. Since no
long-term profits. From the disjunction of his comparative materials on other orchestras were
social position as a dependent craftsman and his gathered in this study many of the formulations
idealized self-image as a gifted and highly skilled to follow must be regarded as provisional and
artist emerge problems of reconciliation of his suggestive rather than as pronouncements of
social and aesthetic expectations with the reali- finality.
ties of his occupational life. Strong commitments It was originally intended to interview the
to the values of art and of his chosen profes- entire membership of the orchestra, but before
sion, essential to fine performance, are often this could be accomplished the organization left
undermined by unhappy experiences centering its resident city on an extended trip. For this
about unmet demands for material and status reason 16 of the members were never interviewed.
rewards, and the felt instability of his position. Fortunately, just such an eventuality had been
Sensing that others pull the strings that may anticipated and all the members of the smaller
ultimately affect his destiny, many a symphony sections (brass, woodwinds, percussion) had been
musician experiencesa chronic anxiety concerning interviewed, and the larger sections (strings)
his life chances: he feels such a situation is in- "sampled" in roughly equal proportions.
consistent with the image of the musician as the The initial 6 weeks of the study were spent
bearerof the highest kind of aesthetic value which entirely in mutual familiarization. It was felt
he offers for the enrichment of the community. that such a period was necessary in view of the
The purpose of this paper is to describe the nature of the organization. Symphony musicians
career aspirations and career experience of a are an occupational group exhibiting considerable
anxiety over their jobs on a number of dimensions,
*The author wishes to express his gratitude to most prominently performance and security. This
Howard J. Ehrlich of the Columbus Psychiatric Insti- is especially true in their relations with the con-
tute and Hospital and Norbert F. Wiley of Michigan
ductor, who has relatively unrestricted formal
State University for their conscientious reading of the
manuscript and cogent editorial and substantive sug- power and dominates the work situation to the
gestions, and to James R. Dove, of the Indianapolis extent that he is typically perceived as an imposing
Health and Welfare Council, for his careful reading of threat to artistic integrity and occupational
the final manuscript. It is regrettable that others to security.2 Gaining the confidence of the musicians
whom he owes a lasting debt for their assistance and
I The data on which this paper is based were gathered
criticism of the study on which this paper is based must
remain unnamed due to professional obligations to by the author in 70 formal interviews with the members
personnel of the orchestra, since disclosure of their of the orchestra, in the winter of 1956-57.
names would jeopardize the anonymity of the organiza- 2 In this paper very little will be said about the con-

tion. ductor. This is not an oversight. The role of the con-

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
224 SOCIALFORCES

in the interview situation was therefore crucial for sets the conditions for the success of individual
the elicitation of unthreatened responses. Also, musicians.3Each orchestra is known and perceived
care was taken throughout the entire study to as the receptacle of rather well-defined status and
insure against the researcherbecoming associated financial rewards. Since the major symphony
in any way with any arm of management: no orchestras, let us say the top 15 or 20, are geo-
one in any such position was interviewed or con- graphically distributed throughout the country,
tacted for any purpose whatever, other than to from Boston to Los Angeles and Minneapolis to
gain initial permission to attend concerts and New Orleans, realization of career expectations
rehearsals.It is felt that whatever loss has ensued almost invariably means considerable geographic
from this procedure has been more than com- mobility. No musician who identifies himself as a
pensated for by the richness of the material full-time professional symphony musician can
gathered from the musicians. achieve his occupational aspirations apart from
movement up and into orchestras at or near the
THE MOBILE WORLD OF THE SYMPHONY MUSICIAN top rank, depending to a limited extent on the
From the perspective of the professional specific position in the orchestra. There is little
symphony musician, his occupational world may be ambiguity concerning the jobs that will satisfy
thought of as an array of symphony orchestras in his reward and status ambitions.
major cities, each of which is the bearer of a rela- The prestigious character of the orchestra is not,
tively stable quantum of prestige, and the entire however, the sole factor involved in the musician's
array ranged on a status hierarchy roughly corre- mobility decisions. For instance, images of con-
sponding to (1) the relative wage scale, and (2) ductors and even of section principals (section
the length of the "season," the top orchestras leaders, or 1st chairs) sometimes become significant
having the highest wages and the longest season. for such decisions. A 1st violin player had this
At the top of this hierarchy stand such organiza- to say:
tions as the orchestras of Boston, New York, and
As far as symphoniesare concernedI'm better off
Philadelphia, celebrated as the finest in the world.
here. I couldhave gone to K [namesa somewhatmore
At the base are found a great proliferation of prestigiousorchestra]last year on viola. The salary
"civic" and semi-professional orchestras in which is a little better than here, but I can't stomach the
musicians perform for little or no pay. The playing conductor.
of symphonic music is for these musicians an
avocation at best, and more often, a form of Also, values originating outside the orchestra or
creative leisure. In the middle ranges it is possible the whole system of orchestras (home town,
to distinguish several groupings on the basis of health, etc.) are sometimes related to musician's
prestige. Of the orchestra studied 70 members mobility decisions, but we need not concern our-
were asked to rank in order the 10 best symphonies selves with these.
in the United States. There was remarkable con- More important than such idiosyncrasies is the
sensus on the order: the orchestras of Boston, fact that, not only the orchestra as a unit, but also
New York, and Philadelphia were ranked 1-2-3 specific positions within it, are ranged on a scale
by 90 percent of the respondents. Immediately of status. The principal chairs (in the case of
below these, three more orchestras were grouped,
and below these, three more. In all, 21 orchestras 3The higher up in the hierarchy the more permanent
becomes the organization. The yearly rate of member-
were named but the top 6 were mentioned by 96
ship turnover would provide an index of permanency.
percent of the respondents, and the top 10 by 47
Though at the time of the study the personnel records
percent. The orchestra upon which this paper is of other orchestras were not available for inspection, it
based was one of those immediately below the is probably safe to assert that any significant shift in
top three. this rate would be accompanied by a shift in the pres-
It is within this system that demands for ma- tige of the orchestra relative to other orchestras. This
terial and status rewards are realized: its structure is because the relative permanence of an orchestra is an
index of the degree to which values are satisfied.
ductor is a topic appropriate for extended treatment. Theoretically, orchestras offering greater value satis-
Unfortunately, space will not permit a digression suffi- factions, i.e. material and status rewards, will also be
cient to comprehend adequately the many facets of the "better" in terms of aesthetic "efficiency," or perform-
position. ance norms.

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
CAREEREXPERIENCE OF THE SYMPHONY MUSICIAN 225

string sections) and the chairs of "lst men" (in put his best men in back so [they] could watch the
the case of winds) top this scale. Incumbents of poorones.It's moredifficultto play [sittingin the back
these positions are paid roughly double the salaries of the sectionbecausethe conductoris furtheraway].
of others (section men). Therefore, within each
In response to the same question an older 2nd
organizationrewardsand status are to some extent
violin player had this to say:
at least formally available for the fulfillment of
mobility demands. The internal status system of Not particularly.I sit midway. I've sat back and
the orchestra is by no means unconnected with forth. I preferto sit in the middleof things. I've not
career-furthering chances of movement through tried for extra responsibilityor askedfor extra money.
the larger system. Experience gained in such jobs I think I'm capableof my job...... I'm older now and
as assistant concertmaster, and to a lesser extent, not ambitiousany more. I never was much. Actually
assistant principal positions, may weigh heavily there's no "aheadedness"to it. There's very little
differencein moneyexceptfor the actualprincipals.
in conductors' personnel replacement decisions.
A man who had played 2nd stand, 1st violins A somewhat abused and buffetted cello player
would probably merit slightly greater considera- expresses the ultimate rationalization.
tion than one off the last stand,4 or one from the
2nd violin section, other things being equal (which I feel my position is somethinglike the 1st cellist,
they practically never are). beingas I sort of pull the sectionalongfromthe rear.
Despite many denials, position in the section
Some mention should be made here of the possi-
is an important source of job satisfaction and
bility of leaving the system and finding career
status deprivation. Though no systematic evidence
satisfactions in related spheres. Specifically,
is available to demonstrate this point there are a
enumeration of soloist6 status, chamber groups
number of considerations that bear immediately
(primarily string quartets), a few opera and ballet
upon it. The mere fact that chances for outside
orchestras, and the popular music field exhausts
jobbing are directly dependent on position injects
such avenues. For the string player, opportunities
a purely economic aspect that poorly paid
in the popular field are few, and the real chances
musicians could hardly ignore.5 Also, if one takes
of becoming a soloist or full-time member of a
the trouble to observe carefully he may sometimes
quartet that pays its own way are fewer. There
detect a nonchalantly calculated, subtly surrepti-
are probably no more than 10 string players suc-
tious competition in the edging forward of chairs.
cessfully making a living as soloists in the United
And a few violinists in the back of the section
States. For wind players, on the other hand, the
confess that being thus displayed before audiences
situation is different. There are always jobs avail-
of thousands is a status-effacing experience. But
able and most symphony wind players augment
perhaps the best indicator of the status meaning
their incomes substantially by playing in popular
of section position is gleaned through the fre-
orcllestras, jazz bands, combos, etc. Of course,
quently inventive rationalizations enunciated by
these opportunities vary somewhat according to
status-deprived musicians. Here, a 1st violinist
the demand for different wind instruments.
who was 10th of 16 in the section elaborates on
In terms of the scope of employment oppor-
his promotion chances.
tunities, then, the strings and winds find them-
Q. Do you expectto get aheadin this orchestra? selves in significantly different situations. The
A. There is no point in it. As much is expectedof string player experiences a relatively great "job
you no matterwhereyou sit. He [the conductor]might confinement" while the wind man has the vast
field of popular music in which he can work.
4A stand is composed of two players. There were 8 While there are other important dimensions on
stands in the 1st violin section of the orchestra studied; which the experience of string and wind players
thus, 16 players. differ,7 it is this one of job confinement which
6 Hiring of string players for whatever outside jobs
are to be had is effected through a long-time member 6 This term as used here means a self-employed,
of the orchestra who acts as a one-man employment entrepreneuring free agent, not to the 1st men of the
agency for establishments or individuals who wish to wind sections, who are also referred to as soloists. Such
hire. The basis for selection is universalistic: he starts names as Menuhin, Heifetz, Serkin, and Rubinstein
with the players at the front of the sections and works come immediately to mind.
toward the back until the supply of jobs is exhausted. 7 The most prominent of these is visibility by both

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
226 SOCIAL FORCES

must be kept primarily in mind as the context in must be filled. The manifest function of this prac-
which we shall examine the dynamics of occupa- tice is to control the "informal" features of a rela-
tional identification and aspiration as they shift tionship that is, nominally at least, one of authority
over the course of a career and have consequences -in this fashion the potentially disorganizing
for other facets of the musician's work life.8 Our effects of formerly egalitarian relationships are
main concern will therefore be with the string circumvented; but its significance extends beyond
players, who constitute about 70 percent of any this-it also has the latent consequence of en-
symphony orchestra. couraging and increasing inter-orchestra mobility.
The fact that, in the orchestra studied, 5 of 14
MOBILITY MECHANISMS principals and 1st men were up from the ranks
In orderfor men to make claims on higher status is probably primarily reflective of a poorly
positions there must be modes of selection to get developed authority system at the level of princi-
them in these positions. Positions are distributed pals and 1st men, for the conductor exercises
as opportunities for rewards and perquisites by many leadership functions that in other orchestras
conductors who select through auditions9 the are delegated to section leaders. Unfortunately,
best players for the jobs. Several features of this no comparative data from other orchestras were
mechanism are of importance. available on this point.
First of all, the top orchestras generally make a The fact that being selected for better jobs is
practice of hiring only men under the age of 35. rare for musicians over 35 means that their career
This means that for the vast majority of musicians changes are effectively settled by that age; thus
success must come early if it is to come at all. If they must move fast. The criteria of principal and
a man has not attained a high status position by 1st man selection, taken together with the prestige
the time he is 35, or at the latest, 40, it is almost grading of orchestras described earlier, means that
certain that he will never attain it. the musician's potential career opportunities are
A second factor of importance, which con- structured in the following ways: (1) a limited
tributes greatly to the geographic mobility of the range within the orchestra, up to but probably not
musician, is the principle in accordance with which including the 1st chair jobs; (2) positions in higher
principals and 1st men are selected. Replacements ranking orchestras, with certain exceptions-
of principals and 1st men are seldom made from section principals would seldom accept section
sections within the orchestra in which the position jobs in higher ranked orchestras; (3) in some
cases, higher status positions in lower ranked
colleague and concert hall audiences. Since most wind orchestras-this almost always would mean a
players are soloists, in the sense of playing a great many section man accepting a principalship or soloist
passages with the rest of the orchestra as a background, job in the lower rankedorchestra. Since the number
the condition for a "performance anxiety" is built into of orchestras that at any given time are relevant
their jobs. While string players need only "blend" with for a musician's mobility chances is never large,
the rest of the section (and it is therefore practically knowledge of potential openings tends to be en-
impossible to ascertain whether they are playing well cyclopedic, though this varies by the size of the
or badly, indeed, whether they are playing at all), a aspirant's section. Whereas trumpet sections
great many of the sounds produced by the wind player
usually have five or six men, 1st and 2nd violin
are audible to all, and these of course, include his
sections taken together normally have at least five
mistakes.
8 The perquisites of a position are by no means in-
times as many. Mobile musicians will probably
considerable. For instance, the 1st men and section know the approximate ages, professional history,
principals monopolized most of the better teaching and ability of most of the incumbents of what,
opportunities in the area, bringing them an income of from their perspective, are desirable jobs, and
substantial proportions. perhaps even in some cases whether there is an
9 The audition is a test of competence everyone must
inclination to quit, and the character of relations
pass prior to admission into the orchestra. It is usually
with the conductor. Thus, each musician is, in a
administered by the conductor (occasionally by the
concertmaster), and is, for most, fraught with anxiety. sense, his own employment agency, compiling an
Some argue that it is not a true test of ability to play inventory of probable and possible jobs. Such
in a symphony orchestra, i.e to "blend" in with the knowledge serves the function of preparing the
total sound. musician for opportunities that "come like a

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
CAREEREXPERIENCE OF THE SYMPHONY MUSICIAN 227

flash, are there for a moment, and then are gone." -and thus outward from the community he is, at
The careerof the symphony musician is not one of the moment, in, but not of-his social life is
steady advancement through a series of finely typically restricted to a culture flourishing on the
graded positions with predictable promotions periphery of his work life, a culture participated
based mainly on presentation of credentials of in by others like himself, stopping for a year or two,
service and tenure, but rather, one of watchfully then going on. Extreme involvement with
awaiting the opportunity that may appear but colleagues off, as well as on the job, means that the
once in a lifetime. musician's professional identity, developed over
long years of training, is constantly being but-
OCCUPATIONAL IDENTIFICATION, ASPIRATION, AND tressed and reinforced, holding to a minimum the
THE CAREER possibilities of pursuit, or even consideration, of
Extraordinarilylong training periods and intense other possible ways of life.
study produce musicians whose occupational This intense occupational identification so char-
identification is of the strongest sort. A complex of acteristic of the young symphony musician, taken
factors accounts for this. together with the reward features of the system-
The training of the musician, particularly the which, in orchestras roughly below the top 10
string musician, begins at an early age in the form practically fail to provide even a subsistence level
of private lessons (usually) and long practice ses- of existence'0-tend to inculcate in him the strong-
sions. Some musicians actually begin their training est aspirations. Now we do not wish to assert as an
at the age of 3 or 4. The fact that intense training empirical generalization that either the level or the
begins so early means two things: (1) that other strength of aspiration necessarily co-varies with
experiences, particularly work experiences, are the strength of occupational identification; only
considerably circumscribed,and (2) such an early that in the case of the symphony musician, strong
investment of time, money, and effort typically occupational identification, conjoined with the
creates a firm basis for a strong occupational com- pattern of rewardand status distribution, produces
mitment while the potential professional is yet a high aspirations of considerable intensity (at
child. Consequently, other identities have little least in the early work years)."i Let us look now at
chance to develop. And it is not by chance that the dynamics of occupational aspiration and
those who remain in the profession have such long identification over the course of the career char-
histories of study. Competence on stringed instru- acterized by great job confinement.
ments particularly depends on years of arduous The highest aspiration a string musician can
practice: one cannot begin late and hope for have is to some day become a self-employed soloist.
success. This ambition was expressed by many young
Isolation from other occupational experiences, violinists particularly,'2 in the subject orchestra
toward which the musician is predisposed by early of the study. For any young man roughly between
training, is perpetuated by two institutional 25 and 30, to be a player in the orchestra means
features characteristic of his late youth and early that at this point in his career he is successful.
adulthood: (1) the conservatory, and (2) his
10In the orchestra studied the weekly base pay (set
great social and geographic mobility. Of the
musicians interviewed, 77 percent attended at by union contract was over $100 per week, with the
possibility of individual bargaining with management
least one conservatory, and many attended two or
for $5 or $10 more. Therefore no one could make over
more. Periods of attendance ranged up to 14 years.
about $3200 in one year, because the season lasted
The curriculum of a music conservatory is not through only a portion of it.
calculated to give the student a rounded education. 11The strength of an aspiration and the level aspired
It is clear that he is there for one purpose-to to are obviously not the same thing. Neither are they
become a polished musician. This means that necessarily in constant relation. A son of a laborer may
opportunities to develop knowledge of and interest aspire strongly to the rather modest occupational
in other areas of endeavor tend to remain minimal. status of, say, barber, while the aspiration of a middle-
class child for attainment of a much higher occupational
Then, as a young man just on the job market, the
status may be of considerably less strength.
tyro professional must maximize a potential for 12 Other than violinists and pianists there are hardly
mobility. Since his career orientation forces him to any instrumentalists making a living in the concert
face upward toward better jobs in other orchestras hall as soloists.

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
228 SOCIALFORCES

Ambitions of such musicians are typically big: This is typical of the older strings: many want to
a 24-year old 2nd violin player had the following get out. Some have tried; few have succeeded.
to say. The years complete the process of effacement of
the occupational identity. As the player grows
This is the beginningof my careerand what I would older, into and beyond the 50's, his talent begins
like to do eventuallyis to be on my own and becomea to erode and his value to the organization dimin-
soloist. ishes, particularly in terms of his future potential.
A number of string players (and a few of the winds)
Such men, in their first professional experiences, report having been "pushed back" in the section.
are intensely motivated toward unrealistically Here, a 54-year old 2nd violinist who had once
high goals. This strong motivation is in part the played in the 1st violins comments.
product of success experience in moving through
relatively low echelon orchestras up to a point Q. Whatare someof thingsyou like best aboutbeing
where, for most, a personal plateau is reached. The a musician?
orchestra studied was such a plateau for many.
After a few years without noticeable progress, A. I don't like any part of it. As a matter of fact,
all the time I've had severalexperiencesin the business
aspirations tend to become scaled down. In the
world,but they failed and I had to come back. But as
following exerpt from an interview, a 32-year old
a professionalmusicianI've never liked it.... The
violin player expresses the inner struggle typical firstchanceto get out I will. I still am looking.
of string players beginning to sense that their (later)
career aspirations may never be realized.
... by the time you reachan age whereyou should
My problemis that I alwayshave ambitionto be a be independentit's just the opposite.As you growolder
soloist,but that's yourideal point of view. You always you get less desirable,less valuable.It's not like other
have to makeadjustmentsto live life or you driveyour-
things.....
self to destruction.You have to keep your ideal and
makeadjustments.I wantedto be a soloistbut I know The material and status rewards offered the
now there is not enoughspace for that. So I chose the symphony musician, particularly the string play-
orchestraand I'm pretty happy about playing in it.
ers, in the circumscribed world of symphonic
But I have ambitionsto become a soloist some day.
Playing in the orchestrais just as valuablebecauseof music are structured such that only a relatively
the experience,and is of more value musically,but few jobs, those in top orchestras plus a number of
when I play a solo I think it counts more because I section principalships and 1st man jobs, can
have all the responsibilityon me. I have to ... do my satisfy the demands created by years of study and
best to become a first-rateplayer. In the orchestra an idealized self-image. When the aspirations
you can do all those things but you can't reach that emerging from these factors fail in fulfillment they
level to get that reward.You can get some satisfaction begin to erode, and before too long the idealized
playing in the orchestra:you can see the standardof occupational identity upon which they are in good
a solo piece is higher.You can hear yourself-you are part founded becomes, over the years, progressively
more of an individual.You have it difficultand more
more rent and torn, in many cases ultimately
to give than in the orchestra.
undergoing near-complete effacement."3
In later years the process of persistent thwarting For the young musician, bringing to the job an
of aspirations often touches the musician's very idealization of the musician's role and a sense of
identity as a talented and schooled artist perform- personal musical integrity, contact with such dis-
ing the work he esteems, making great music come illusioned older musicians can be a rather bewilder-
alive in the concert hall. A 47-year old 1st violin ing experience, and in some cases was the fountain-
player quite well-placed in the section answers: head of considerable hostility directed toward
them: such encounters scarcely engender con-
Q. Whatdo you expectto be doing5 yearsfromnow? firmation of the artistic image of the symphony
musician. A 27-year old cello player says:
A. That's a hard question.If I can still be playing
I'll be playingin an orchestra.If I can get decentcom- 13 Note certainparallelswith the automobileworker
mercialworkthe yearroundI'd ratherdo that.... I've as presentedin Ely Chinoy, AutomobileWorkersand
done cabaretwork. I'd ratherplay in any cabaretin the AmericanDream(New York: Doubledayand Co.,
the countrythan the symphonyorchestra. 1955).

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
CAREEREXPERIENCE OF THE SYMPHOMY MUSICIAN 229
Most peoplein the orchestradon'twant a conductor Since this is the most significant activity of the
who will makethem play well. They don't want to be musician off the job in terms of time spent and
pushed.They want to just sit back-they aren'tinter-meaning involved we shall use it to demonstrate
ested in playingwell. In general,the youngerfellows
the second point made above. The string popula-
are more conscientious,more interested in making
tion of the orchestra (except those not interviewed)
music.
was broken into four age groupings; grouping I,
Or a 2nd violin player of the same age: ages 20-32 (15 cases); grouping II, ages 33-38
(11 cases); grouping III, ages 41-50 (10 cases);
But you're not playing with virtuoso musicians. and grouping IV, ages 54-63 (5 cases). Each re-
Youngpeopleareambitious,want to play energetically. spondent was presented with the following
Thesepeoplesimplydo not do it. question:
The erosion of a man's occupational identifica-
Whichof the followingjobs wouldyou prefer?Rate
tion means a concomitant resignation from the the most
desirable,"1," the next most desirable,"2,"
struggle for organizational and occupational etc.
values. In the case of the symphony musician such
a resignation means two things: first, that the Playerin a smallchambergroup
individual now regardshis job as permanent rather Virtuosoperformer
than as a stepping stone to better things. He Conductorof a symphonyorchestra
"settles down." While the younger set is "on the Memberof a popularband or orchestra
move," older musicians become psychologically Sectionplayerin a good symphonyorchestra
estranged from formerly held mobility aspirations. Teacherin the public schools
Decisions such as buying a home, and even getting
married, become symbolic of withdrawal from the Proceeding from the younger grouping toward
activities peripheral to the work life that are so the older, the choice, "player in a small chamber
significantto the younger musician. In such a situa- group," received a progressively lower mean
tion it is possible to develop a widening range of rating. The mean rating for grouping I was 1.60;
social experience and involvement not important for grouping II, 1.91; for grouping III, 2.00; and
for someone here today but gone tomorrow. The for grouping IV, 2.60.
social life of the musician still riding a career is an The difference between the mean scores for
extension of professional colleagueship, while the grouping I and grouping IV becomes more sig-
man who stays enmeshes himself, in diverse ways, nificant when we understand that most of the
in the life of the community as he withdraws from respondents injected a "reality" dimension as a
condition of their responses, exemplified best by
the society of the young and mobile.
a strong rejection on the part of many of the
Second, and closely related to the point made
choice, "virtuoso performer." On the basis of the
above, there exists a widening gap of communica-
interview material this cannot be taken seriously.
tion and values between the two groups. The But the same
holds true of "conductor of a
younger group, focusing on work and cut off from symphony orchestra." Few musicians can
imagine
main streams of community life, create a situation themselves in this role. "Member of a
popular
where great meaning is placed upon certain rather band or orchestra," is unrealistic on other grounds:
stereotyped activities indulged in somewhat few such organizations hire string players (apart
compulsively. The best illustration of this is from string bass players, and then the instrument
undoubtedly the extent to which chamber music is- almost always plucked rather than bowed).
is performed. Almost all young string players So the item makes little sense. Keeping these
spend many hours weekly in this "leisure" matters in mind, then the differences loom as
activity.'4 considerable.
The older settled and withdrawn musician does
14 To speculatea bit: just as early morningjam ses-
not value the activities most significant to the
sions often held by dancemusicianscan be interpreted
as ritualpurificationacts carriedout after the sacrifice
of artistic standardsand integrity necessaryfor com- by symphonymusiciansseems to expressthe artistic
mercialjobs controlledby a lay audience,so the play- spirit that chafesundersuch a close controlas that of
ing of chambermusicin this rathercompulsivemanner the conductor.

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
230 SOCIAL FORCES

mobile young. The result, in the orchestra here man, "characters," and "queers"-he wants no
studied, was a fairly well-developed schism created part of them. The older men, on the other hand,
from factors outlined earlier. The younger are apt to be defined by the younger as defectors
musicians, living in quasi-bohemian style become, from artistic and professional values. And this
in the eyes of the settled, community-involved they find incomprehensible.

DIFFERENTIAL SEX RATIOS OF YOUNG


CHILDREN IN NEW ORLEANS
HARLAN W. GILMORE*

A N INSPECTIONof New Orleanscensus segregation in cities. Since, in cities, various


tract data for 1940 revealed a number residential areas tend to be occupied by certain
of tracts which, in children under 5 years racial or nationality groups or by members of a
and in children under 1 year, showed sex ratios certain economic class, the census tracts in these
which deviated greatly from what had been re- areas reflect statistically the social characteristics
garded as the normal. Some showed a marked pre- of the social category which occupies the tracts.
ponderanceof male children and some a preponder- If residential segregation were complete and if the
ance of female children. In checking the location boundaries of census tracts were laid out to follow
of these tracts, cases were found in which several exactly segregation lines, census tract data would
tracts reporting a preponderanceof male children provide a 100 percent sample of each social cate-
lay contiguous to each other, and similarly cases gory on all items enumerated in the census (except
were found in which tracts having a preponderance those enumerated on a sample basis). Actually,
of females lay contiguous to each other. This evi- neither of these conditions is ever completely ful-
dence suggested that variations in sex ratios might filled and census tract data, therefore, represent
follow an ecological pattern such as has been found only a rough approximation of this ideal.
for delinquency, mental disease, and numerous so- In an effort to get data which would approach
cial characteristics. An analysis was undertaken, this ideal as dosely as possible, data for white
therefore, to see if convincing evidence could be population only were used. Residential segregation
found for the existence of such an ecological pat- on a basis of socio-economic class probably is
tern. In presenting the results of this analysis, evi- more nearly complete in the white than in the
dence is presented that deviations are not of a nonwhite population. Furthermore, because of
chance nature and that they represent an areal or numbers, there is a greater probability of having
ecological pattern. Evidence is then given as to census tracts representing each socio-economic
what this pattern is, and finally an hypothesis class in the white than in the nonwhite populations.
is proposed to explain the pattern. And finally, in a southern city there are so many
differences in cultural background, occupation,
METHOD OF THE STUDY standard of living, etc., between whites and non-
The basic data used in this study are census whites that statistics based on a mixture of the
tract data. Census tract data have been found two are relatively meaningless in terms of social
useful for various kinds of statistical studies, of categories. Also, for unknown reasons, national
course, because of the phenomenon of residential statistics consistently show a considerably higher
* We are privileged to publish here the results of Dr.
preponderance of males for white than for Negro
children.
Gilmore's last research which he submitted to SOCIAL
A residential area may be much larger than a
FORCES in the summer of 1959. Fully aware of the con-
troversial nature of his findings, he worked on the paper census tract. Indeed, in New Orleans where the
for two years and even then released it with hesitancy. census tracts are relatively small, a residential area
A professor at Tulane University, he died November 3, may incorporate several census tracts. To get
1959. See SOCIAL FORCES, December 1959, p. 166.- units approximating residential areas, census tracts
Editors were grouped into what are being called in this

This content downloaded from 195.34.79.174 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 07:40:06 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions