Motherhood in the Music Academy

Kate Fitzpatrick, Bridget Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored the perceptions of music professors as to their experiences navigating both the academy and motherhood. We utilized a multiple critical case study approach to understand the experiences of six participants, two of each representing early-career (assistant professors), midcareer (associate professors), and late-career (full professors) female-identifying music faculty with children. Analysis of the data revealed three themes. The first, living within two worlds, represented participants’ lived experiences of parenthood and their careers as faculty within the music academy, highlighting participants’ use of “drastic measures to make it all work.” The second theme, motherhood and gender equity, represented the participants’ experiences of motherhood as a gendered phenomenon, including navigating microaggressions and discrimination in the workplace. The final theme, navigating the academic world: structures and people, represented participants’ experiences related to tenure and promotion, the lack of support they frequently perceived from academic colleagues, and the financial ramifications of their dual positionality. Recommendations for further research and suggestions for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-397
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • academia
  • children
  • gender equity
  • motherhood
  • music academy
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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