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This study explores the meaning of music-making in the lives of computer scientists who play classical music as their serious avocation. In particular, it investigates their tendencies and capacities to concurrently engage in two such distinct disciplines on a regular basis, by exploring the cognitive, social, and cultural aspects of their concurrent engagement. While current research literature approaches the affinities between mathematicians/scientists and musicians through the presence of mathematical properties of music and through anecdotal evidence involving known persona and their innovations, this study provides a deeper look at the individuals who combine such worlds, in order to better understand how music-making is situated in their lives. Framing this research as a phenomenological case-study, narratives of seven study participants (and two pilot-study participants) are constructed through open-ended interviews, in which the participants relive their experiences of this phenomenon of embracing the two disciplines within a vocation/avocation framework. Using narrative analysis, and to a limited extent sociolinguistic analysis, the essence of this phenomenon is extracted from their narratives in the form of three major themes: participation in musical groups, sharing of cognitive skills across both disciplines, and tendencies to bring the two disciplines together. Given these themes, this study demonstrates the rich lives of these individuals, their high sense of self, ability to give to society, and their occasional ability to reach creative peaks. This study can motivate educators and educational institutions to encourage and support individuals with interdisciplinary interests, and calls for such individuals not to leave behind their artistic passions despite the role pragmatism plays in their career choices. This study can also help educators better understand individuals who are attracted to or engaged in multiple disciplines, and can complement or reaffirm scientific research on cognitive skills used in the disciplines of music-making and computer-science.



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