New Teachers College Study Details the Lives of Jazz Musicians
The National Endowment for the Arts recently released "Changing the Beat: A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians," a national study of jazz musicians conducted by the Research Center for Arts and Culture at Teachers College. The study came from a cooperative agreement between Teachers College, the NEA, and the San Francisco Study Center. The study found that jazz musicians are mostly well-educated, middle-aged men though they make less money than the national average for their level of education. Many do not have retirement and health benefits. The study contains survey results from 2,700 musicians in New York, Detroit, San Francisco and New Orleans. The survey also asked musicians for suggestions on how to keep jazz alive and help musicians to work in the field. The musicians emphasized access to affordable health care, pensions, and emergency relief funds. The interviewees also stressed the importance of education for the preservation of jazz, both education of children and classes for musicians to help them manage their careers. "I think most people were not surprised at the low income of jazz musicians, but the findings on health coverage were eye-opening," said Prof. Joan Jeffri, director of the Research Center for Arts and Culture. "In our former studies of artists 89% had health coverage (even if they did not obtain it themselves). In this study, while unionized musicians came close to that figure (88%), only 43.1% identified through the community-based interview method called Respondent-driven sampling had health coverage or insurance." The article, entitled "NEA Survey Finds Jazz Musicians Are Well Educated But Underpaid And Lacking Benefits " appeared in the January 24th edition of All About Jazz.
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