Skip to main content

The Impact of COVID-19 on Musician’s Social Connectedness

The Impact of COVID-19 on Musician’s Social Connectedness

Presenter Name:Kathleen Howcroft

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Kathleen Howcroft, Kestrel McNeill, Cindy Tran, & Dr. Ranil Sonnadara


  • Background: Extensive literature exists examining the relationship between social connectedness and psychological wellbeing. Music is a social interaction that occurs in multiple forms leading to important/valued social connections between musicians.
  • Objectives: This study aims to examine the social connectedness amongst musicians and how connections developed through musical training affect mental health, performance, and relationships. This study also explores how the previously mentioned aspects have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Methods: A parallel convergent mixed methods design was utilized. Participants were 20 young musicians participating in the Brott Music Festival, an annual collection of multidisciplinary and educational concerts in Hamilton held virtually this year. Musicians participated in semi-structured interviews and a survey using a Social Connectedness Scale. Data from the interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis and triangulated with the survey results.
  • Results: Musicians are feeling undervalued and isolated during the pandemic as they have suffered the loss of their livelihood and opportunities for performance. Losing the ability to perform has been attributed to a loss of identity which has had negative implications for their mental health. Musicians fear for the future of music and struggle with the transition to the foreign virtual performance medium which lacks the connection to audiences and fellow artists they value.
  • Conclusions: Young musicians are facing uncertainty and change as they transition their practice virtually and plan for a future in the music industry. Future work will examine how social connectedness has changed for these musicians over the duration of the pandemic.
  • Affiliations:
    • Kathleen Howcroft, BA (c)1,2; Kestrel McNeill, BHSc, MSc (c)3,4; Cindy Tran, BSc, PhD (c)2,5; Ranil Sonnadara, PhD 2,6,7,8
    • (1) Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour Undergraduate Program
    • (2) Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
    • (3) Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, McMaster University
    • (4) Health Research Methodology Graduate Program, McMaster University
    • (5) Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour Graduate Program
    • (6) LIVELab, McMaster University
    • (7) Office of Education Science, Department of Surgery, McMaster University
    • (8) Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University
Poster PDFPoster PDF Meeting LinkMeeting Link Video LinkVideo Link