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Findings from PLAY music survey Self-efficacy , Plans, Aspirations, Barriers to achieving aspirations . Guildhall School of Music & Drama in partnership with Institute of Education, University of London Co-ordinators: Helena Gaunt (GSMD), Andrea Creech (IOE), Susan Hallam (IOE)

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findings from play music survey self efficacy plans aspirations barriers to achieving aspirations

Findings from PLAY music surveySelf-efficacy, Plans, Aspirations, Barriers to achieving aspirations

Guildhall School of Music & Drama

in partnership with

Institute of Education, University of London


Helena Gaunt (GSMD), Andrea Creech (IOE), Susan Hallam (IOE)

Research Assistant: Marion Long

aims of the research
Aims of the Research
  • Explore changes throughout students’ time learning in a conservatoire environment
  • Focus on:
      • Aspirations
      • Self-perceptions: Self-efficacy, Self-esteem Anxiety & Motivation
  • Add to knowledge about these relatively unexplored areas in music education at conservatoire level
  • C ontribute to understanding how conservatoires may support student learning and future aspirations.
  • Transitions involve loss, risk, anxiety, challenge, excitement and anticipation (Lucey and Reay, 2000; Hallam and Rogers, 2008).
  • Factors influencing successful musical transitions include:
    • support and encouragement from parents, peers, teachers and institutions,
    • strong self-concept as a musician
    • coping strategies that underpin perseverance and self-discipline within a highly competitive domain (Mac Namaraet al 2006, Burland & Davidson., 2004).
  • Questionnaires
    • Rating scales and open questions
      • Self-efficacy in music
      • Motivation
      • Self-esteem
      • Anxiety
      • Career plans
  • Interviews with students
  • Focus group with student services staff
data collection and sampling
Data collection and sampling
  • In 2007- 8 the questionnaire was distributed across the entire 1st Year group using students’ pigeonholes
  • In 2008-9 the process was repeated – targeting the same student group
  • In 2009-2010, > 300 students of all year groups completed the questionnaire
  • In 2010-2011, > 300 students completed the questionnaire
  • Interviews were conducted at the end of each academic year.
general observations from 2010 and 2011
General observations from 2010 and 2011

The students’ agreed most on these items:

  • General attitude, ‘Being a musician is a very important part of who I am’
  • Aspiration, ‘To enjoy my work’
  • Barrier, ‘Lack of personal contacts in the music business’

Other statements that generated overall agreement were:

  • General attitude, ‘I am highly motivated to succeed as a musician’,
  • Aspiration, ‘To earn enough money to live comfortably’ and the perceived
  • Barrier, ‘Lack of work opportunities’
career plans differed between instrument types
Career plans differed between instrument types
  • Students of string, wind

and brass instruments

were statistically more

likely to plan…..

  • Singing students were

statistically more likely

to plan …..

‘to be an orchestral musician’,

p η2= .45

‘to be a soloist’

p η2 = .44

year in college
Year in college
  • Within each instrument type, year in college produced significant effects with small effects sizes
  • Overall there was a tendency for students to show lower self-efficacy scores in Year 2 and again in Year 4.
  • This occurred in the majority of instrument types.
longitudinal analyses 2007 2011
Longitudinal Analyses 2007-2011
  • Three longitudinal data sets were designed & analysed
  • Dataset 1: Data from 13 students in each year of their undergraduate course
  • Dataset 2: Data from 20 students in the 1st, 2nd and 4th year of their undergraduate course
  • Dataset 3: Data from 21 students in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of their undergraduate course
  • Repeated Measures Anova adjusted using Bonferroni
  • Only significant effects with medium and large effect sizes are explored here.
  • Interview data intersected with the quantitative findings.
lack of work opportunities
‘Lack of work opportunities’

‘I think it will be difficult to find work. There are so many good musicians out there. ’There is constant worry about not getting work and having to fight your way through. 1st Years

Pretty much just trying to find a job and all that, ... stuff, and also I think it is sort of not knowing what I want to do necessarily, and also I think you have to have really good confidence to get anywhere in music, 2nd Year female student

Work, getting work. It’s the nature of the industry, being quite tough and cutthroat and probably a lot of rejection and falls and stuff. But that’s standard. I guess the main difficulty is just getting work. 2nd Year female

I think that becoming a musician it is always difficult to find opportunities and find a way in. I think that I you don’t have the security of further study, those opportunities can be slightly harder to come by, but hopefully I’ll be prepared for that by the time I leave.3rd Year female

Getting the job will be the hardest thing because they’re in such high demand. For example the BBC job came up and there were over 70 auditions for it. The 4th Year prepares you more for getting jobs in orchestras because the exams are more audition oriented. This makes you more focussed and serious about it all I guess. In the 4th Year you get to work alongside professionals and get a better idea of what orchestral life is all about.. 4th Year Male

I’ve had opportunities to play as principal trumpet in the Barbican with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra over the year an various high level student orchestras. The job of a fulltime professional musician is a very difficult and competitive one to get into. I’d basically be very happy if I was just earning a living playing the trumpet freelancing, teaching, picking-up whatever I can get at the time and just looking to be building a portfolio of professional experience and to build on that really over time. 4th Year Male.

i am confident that i know how to practise
‘I am confident that I know how to practise’
  • C: And has the way that you approach practice changed this year?
  • I don’t think so. I think its more or less then same. I just do more of it now than before. 1st Year Male
  • Yeah, I think so. I tend to do less and improve more, which I like. Just – I just think about it a lot more, because they always tell you about how, you know, you can be practising for four hours but only do an hour that’s worth anything decent, and they do actually tell you a lot about how you should only practise in forty-minute slots 2nd Year Female
  • I am inclined to really work on my own and only think of things by myself. Of course I do the things that are recommended by my teacher but I feel that I don’t want to rely exclusively on her. Personally, I practice every part of the music.3rd Year Female
  • The way I practice is a lot more focussed now I know what I’m supposed to be achieving and I know how I can go about achieving it as well. I don’t just sit in a practice room and play. I plan literally every minute. 3rd Year Male
  • At the start of the year I was playing with a professional orchestra and it made me realise what had to be done. A lot of the changes came into focus through having a set plan and sticking to it really in practice. 4th Year Male
  • I feel that I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always known what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be. I think the thing with music is that you have to keep going and keep working. 3rd Year female
  • The atmosphere in the School has suffered because of the lack of practice rooms. W e all want to but we can’t. 4th Year male
  • Due to rehearsals, teaching, gigs and concerts, I’ve had to learn to become a lot more efficient so that I don’t over-do it. I’ve had to learn to condense all of the things that I’d like to fit into a day into perhaps an hour or half an hour. I’ve had to keep tings ticking over or sustain things until I can work on them again really. 4th Year male
too much competition from other musicians
‘Too much competition from other musicians’
  • There will be a lot of competition and you need to be out there to make yourself known to others and to get work. It won’t be easy. Most likely I will also need to teach, which is fine, but I hope to focus on playing as much as possible. 1st Year Male
  • A lot of students get very jealous or upset or competitive against other people and I think a competitive spirit is needed in this industry. However I think people need to be open-minded and look at other students and take what they can learn from other students and not necessarily be bitchy about it or jealous, learn from them. 2nd Year student female
  • My teacher’s in the LSO so I’m always watching them and they are an important role model for m e and the way he plays as well. So I suppose I’m constantly comparing myself to the way he plays and also against other people in the college as well. There has to be a bit of competition for stimulation I think. 3rd Year Male
  • I may feel ready for the work, but convincing people that you’re experienced enough without the hard evidence of professional experience already on your CV. Once you have the first couple of professional dates on your CV it becomes easier to gain people’s confidence and trust. 4th Year Male
too much stress
‘Too much stress’
  • ‘I went to see my GP who referred me to a psychologist and they gave me medication. That helped, but I still felt that I needed a break so I went to stay at home for sometime’. Ist Year Female
  • ‘Since being here it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster because it starts off all fine and then you have your ups and downs but I’m back on track to where I was, whereas I did have a bit of a time where I was quite down’ 2nd Year student female
  • In an opera class, I think partly due to tiredness or confidence I just didn’t have enough energy. It just felt completely draining to be singing in front of everyone. I think it was just going on in my head. I felt very judged and very draining, like I couldn’t muster up the energy almost to do with what I was hoping to do with the character and everything. 3rd Year Female
  • I think I’ll try to give it all a go – it’s quite an intense thing. And then if I can’t handle that amount of intense pressure….ideally I’ll be doing various performances- but definitely teaching. 4th Year Female
  • I don’t doubt that I can have a career in England, but I do doubt that I can in America and that’s a place where I’d love to sing….The kind of music degree that I am doing, so many people have got and that isn’t enough to get me a job inside or outside of music. 4th Year Male.
summary of findings
Summary of Findings
  • These findings support earlier work in which we found that 1st and 2nd Year Undergraduates experience a decrease in self-efficacy and an increase in anxiety about achieving a performing career as a professional musician.
  • During the 3rd Year many of the students find the resilience that they need to develop their musical self-concept as professional performers, many decide to become teachers.
  • Mills (2004) found that 3rd year female undergraduates were more likely than 3rd year male undergraduates to aspire to teach young children, and less likely than 3rd year male undergraduates to aspire to teach in a conservatoire.
  • There is a gender difference in the 4th year which suggests that males, perhaps intent on unattainable goals, appear to experience something of a crisis in their final BMus Year.
  • The broader findings in this survey were supported by the interview data, confirming that students developed a stronger sense of self-efficacy during their 3rd Year.
  • Student services staff proposed that social norms placed great pressure on males but not females to succeed in their careers and that this would explain the impact on the 4th Year male students’ self-efficacy.
  • To prevent the development of increased levels of anxiety during the 1st and 2nd Year, to facilitate the development of musical self-concept in the 3rd Year and to safeguard against a crisis in the 4th Year, institutions could provide seminars and workshops for staff and students dedicated to enhancing healthy attitudes towards the development of a professional self-concept.