Motivation in music and the influence of significant others
Sichivitsa (2007) analysed the responses of college non-music majors about their involvement in music and which influences had the most effect on the non-major’s decisions to continue in a musical ensemble.
External influences considered were the support received from significant others such as parents, teachers and peers, and the effect of support from these people influences the college student’s persistence and self-concept of ability and task value. Using this external influence information and information from the student’s own internal influences, Sichivitsa found that the strongest predictor of future musical intentions was the value of music to the college student, which was developed through a combination of both internal and external influences.
Internal influences either enhance or diminish students’ self-concepts in music. Internal influences investigated in the Sichivitsa study were perceptions of task value, ability, past musical experiences of success or failure, and perceptions of self-worth. Task value is an important factor in decisions about future efforts towards a task and is an internal perception and influence.
According to expectancy-value theory (Eccles, et al., 1983), placing value on a task will influence persistence. Task value is made up of perceptions of attainment value, interest, utility value and cost of involvement in the activity. A combination of task value perceptions and internal beliefs about competence will determine persistence and achievement on a particular task.
Other internal factors which were considered included perceptions about ability as it predicts subsequent achievement, and interest in the task. Ability perceptions determine future task persistence (Bandura, 1997). Self-worth (Covington, 1984) suggests that individual will choose behaviour which may help them to avoid failure and protect their self-worth. Social integration was also included in the study and its purpose was to reflect the student’s satisfaction with social interactions in the musical ensemble.
The results of the study showed that 42% of the variance in intention to continue musical ensemble participation was due to previous musical experience and parental support which positively influenced students’ self-concepts in music. The better the self-concept the more value the student placed on music and this has an overall positive effect on future intentions.
Additionally, the positive social interactions were found to be significant factors in future intentions. It was the satisfaction derived from the social interactions and integration which assisted in providing positive influences on the value of music to the student.
Teachers were also found to play a crucial role in the value of musical experiences of the student. The teacher who was skilled, knowledgable, supportive, and enjoyed working with the students significantly contributed to the positive experiences in the music ensemble program.
In sum, such positive experiences from a variety of internal and external factors which are mutually reinforcing, can operate to have an enhancing effect on the value a student places on music. Value was shown to be a direct predictor of intention to continue music participation. This is useful information for educators, as it provides a guide to influences on music participation of students.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Covington, M. (1984). The motive of self-worth. In R. Ames & C. Ames (Eds.), Research on Motivation in Education: Student Motivation (pp. 79-106).
Eccles, J., Adler, T. F., Futterman, R., Goff, S. B., Kaczala, C. M., & Meece, J. L. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Achievement and achievement motivation (pp. 75-146). San Francisco: Freeman.
Sichivitsa, V. O. (2007). The influences of parents, teachers, peers and other factors on students’ motivation in music. Research Studies in Music Education, 29(1), 55-68.