Centre for Performance Science



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Laura Ritchie

Self-efficacy in Music for Learning and Performance 

PhD 2011

This thesis investigates the personal and task-specific beliefs of self-efficacy within music by developing and validating questionnaires to measure these beliefs and showing their relationship to other areas within a musician's experience. The importance and value of self-efficacy beliefs is illustrated through a number of empirical studies carried out with a cross-section of musicians ranging from school children to those beginning professional careers, relating specific types of self-efficacy beliefs to musicians' skills, performance, and their wider musical and non-musical experiences. The validity of the new Self-efficacy for Musical Learning and Self-efficacy for Musical Performing questionnaires were ascertained through tests of robustness, and internal reliability, using Cronbach alpha and factor analysis; construct validity was also reinforced by expected correlations with musical and behavioural variables. The distinction between the two types of self-efficacy was shown by their specific relationship to different musical tasks, as illustrated through correlations with musical skills and attributes, behaviours, and outcomes. The interaction of self-efficacy for musical learning and the use of self-regulated learning behaviours was explored with music students in higher education. The effect of self-efficacy for musical performing beliefs on the assessed quality of a performance was illustrated with students who had reached different levels within their education, and showed that significant levels of predictivity increased for the more advanced musicians. The two questionnaires were adapted and validated for use with children and illustrated how those with less musical experience begin to build these beliefs. Finally, the theoretical notion that tasks in different domains might be governed by similar higher-order skills and thus might be approached with a common methodology was explored by testing the relevance of examining both learning and performing in sport and music with similar questionnaires, and the wider implications of self-efficacy beliefs for learners and teachers is discussed. 

Related publications 

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2007), Measuring self-efficacy in music, in A Williamon & D Coimbra (eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2007 (pp. 307-312), European Association of Conservatoires. 

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2011), Measuring distinct types of musical self-efficacy, Psychology of Music, 39, 328-344 [DOI]

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2011), Primary school children’s self-efficacy for music learning, Journal of Research in Music Education, 59, 146-161 [DOI]

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2012). Self-efficacy as a predictor of musical performance quality, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 6, 334-340 [DOI]

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2013), Measuring musical self-regulation: Linking processes, skills, and beliefs, Journal of Education and Training Studies, 1, 106-117 [DOI]

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