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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Creative blocks in musicians : an exploration of their self-reported causes Thom, Terre Bell


The purpose of this study was to explore the nature and causes of blocks to musicians' creative and re-creative processes. The importance of this investigation was explained in terms of expanding existing knowledge concerning blocks. Data from 57 volunteer subjects were subjected to content analysis, modelled after Crosson (1982a & b) and Porath (1990). Six categories of causes of blocks were identified. Emergent themes included Process-Orientation, wherein blocks are described as integral elements of the creative process, as well as Problem Solving, Working Conditions, Professional Esteem, Emotion, and Physical. Quantitative analyses done on the variables duration and frequency of blocks with creative or recreative group did not support the hypotheses that associations would be found between these variables and group membership. Tentative support was found for the hypotheses that sex is related to frequency of block and also to duration. Findings confirm a hypothesized difference between the number of causes of blocks cited by musicians with varying duration of their longest block. These results have implications for counsellor awareness of, and practice in dealing with clients' blocks to creative or re-creative tasks. As well, they suggest that future research replicating the study with larger, more evenly matched, and more diverse samples is needed.

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