Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Motivation in the Applied Voice Studio: An Overview

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Motivation in the Applied Voice Studio: An Overview

Article excerpt

APPLIED MUSIC INSTRUCTION, with its foundation based largely on a combination of oral tradition and experience, has only recently emerged as a focus for academic study. The one-to-one ratio of the applied studio has traditionally separated musicians from the rest of the academic world's classroom studies, leaving a void in the motivation research field.1 Each week, the applied student must take what is learned in a single lesson that lasts between thirty minutes and one hour and translate it into what will be useful and motivating in the practice room. Since the majority of the time that the student will spend practicing during a week will be independent of the instructor, the student must learn how to independently diagnose and solve problems that arise. It is fully accepted that motivation is a necessary part of learning and must be present in order for students to attain their full potential, but what is lacking is research that is specifically relevant to the applied voice studio.2 This absence of voice-specific motivational research creates a need to develop a framework for study by first considering basic motivation theories that currently prevail in academic research, and then looking at how they can be understood in the context of the applied voice studio.

BASIC MOTIVATION THEORIES

The basic social cognitive motivation theories that dominate the mainstream of academic research today are self-efficacy and attribution theory, expectancy-value theory, and achievement goal theory.3 In recent studies, these basic theories have become umbrella terms for more detailed studies that have focused on mastery motivation, mindset, and self-determination theory.

Self-efficacy refers to students' personal beliefs in their own abilities and how capable they believe themselves to be when it comes to achieving their goals. Music students who possess high self-efficacy usually are more accepting of criticism and have high intrinsic motivation.4 Closely related to self-efficacy is attribution theory, which refers to what students believe causes personal success or failure and whether they believe the causes to be within their control. The different factors to which students can attribute success are ability, effort, luck, difficulty, and strategy.5 In considering what students attribute to be the cause of their own successes or failures, the certainty of whether or not the cause was within their control or outside of it will have serious effects on motivation.6 For example, in a 2006 undergraduate music major survey completed by Schmidt, Zdinski, and Ballard, 69.4% of the 148 students surveyed from three American universities stated that public school teaching was their immediate career goal. The survey also showed that music education majors attributed their successes to ability and effort, showing a much higher level of intrinsic motivation than the performance and music therapy majors, who tended to attribute their successes to luck and strategy. It was concluded that these competitive aspects of motivation are relevant to the research of self-efficacy and attribution in prospective music educators.7

Expectancy-value theory refers to concern about a specific outcome in relation to how it will affect the future, as in how good a performance will be in relation to the quality of the student's practice to prepare for the performance.8 Expectancy-value is also split into categories that further define it. Using the above performance example, attainment value would refer to the importance the student would place on executing a good performance; intrinsic motivation would involve the expectation of personal enjoyment and satisfaction that the student would feel upon completing the performance; extrinsic motivation would involve an outside motivator for successfully completing the performance, such as a grade or academic advancement; and perceived cost would refer to how worthwhile the student felt it would be to successfully complete the performance. …

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