The empirical research carried out by the author on a significant number of students who graduated from Italian Conservatories in the first Nineties offers a detailed picture of the expectations, conditions and social constructions of aspiring musicians. At the same time, grave difficulties emerge from the different attempts of these young men to start a career in the realization of an actual matching between imagination and reality. From here, a new research work arises the question as to whether a century-old institution as it is the Conservatory can have implications for its students on the process of building a personal professional identity within a radically changed social context. An institution risks to turn its traditional heritage into a useless burden if it does not have the courage to run the risk of comparing itself with the context in which it happens to operate.
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