Musikelever på gymnasiets estetiska program: En studie av elevernas bakgrund, studiegång och motivation

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


In previous studies research on motivation in education has tended to be focused on attribution (perceived causes of success and failure), self perception, goal orientation and autonomy. This thesis aims to describe the background and schooling of music students and to measure their motivation for music education. Motivation is viewed as a cognitive process, which influences learning through achievement behaviour. The study is based on a survey which included 61% of the students (mainly 19 years old) studying specialised music in Swedish high schools. Items were analysed using regression analysis, ANOVA procedures and structural equation techniques. The results show that most students have a long record of voluntary music education. However, one third of the boys, in marked contrast to virtually no girls, can be characterized as autodidacts with a long music experience but short formal studies. Gender differences seem to strengthen during the students’ gymnasium studies.

Students’ self-perception in music factored into three components - creativity, technical skills, and musicality. Self-perceptions explained 29% and attributions 24% of the students’ variance in achievement behaviour. Attribution covariates strongly with self-perception but moderately with autonomy and goal orientation. Finally, 62% of the variance in the students’ results were explained by attitudes and three components of achievement behaviour: activity level, choice of activity and persistence.

The results of the attribution study confirm earlier studies in that teacher, effort and ability are common factors used by students to explain their success, while effort, previous knowledge and learning strategy often are used to explain failure. Students’ explanations of success and failure tend to be uncorrelated. Only references to ability was strongly connected between success and failure situations. The results on the effect of goal orientation also confirm earlier studies in that mastery orientation has a positive effect on achievement behaviour. A structure of self-perception in music has not been reported earlier. Results here can be viewed as a development of the artistic factor proposed by Vispoel.

Finally, the results show that a large majority of the music students in the Swedish high school aesthetic program display a healthy motivational orientation. However, few students seem to be aware of their learning strategy. Teachers should therefore help their students to become aware of different techniques when studying and practicing, and to monitor their own learning. This can be achieved through individualized and structured teacher feedback on the students’ progress during their musical learning.


  • Maria Karlsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Music


  • Musikvetenskap, Musicology, SEM, gender, autonomy, achievement behaviour, goal orientation, self perception, attribution, motivation, Music, high school, Pedagogy and didactics, Pedagogik, didaktik
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 Feb 22
Place of PublicationMalmö
  • Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University
Print ISBNs91-628-5113-6
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-02-22 Time: 10:15 Place: Malmö Academy of Music External reviewer(s) Name: Gustafsson, Jan-Eric Title: Prof Affiliation: [unknown] ---