Abstract

This study investigated the musical self-efficacy of middle school band students. A volunteer sample of 45 students from 14 suburban schools completed a 60-item questionnaire measuring students’ self-efficacy beliefs, as well as their attributions for success and failure in music. Background information, including practice habits and family participation in music, was also collected. Measures included the Schmidt Self-Efficacy Scale (2007), a researcher-adaptation of Hendricks’s Self-Efficacy Scale (2009), and the Asmus Motivating Factors (AMF) scale. Students reported generally high musical self-efficacy levels and cited ability as the strongest attributional factor in music success. Many significant relationships were detected among the self-efficacy measures and the AMF subscales (p < .01). A maximum variation subsample was selected for interviews designed to investigate experiences contributing to feelings of self-efficacy. Interview questions reflected Bandura’s (1994) four primary sources of influence upon perceived self-efficacy: mastery or failure experiences, social models, social persuasion, and somatic experience. Responses were transcribed and coded according to a researcher-developed coding scheme. Results revealed that mastery and failure experiences were cited nearly 1 1/2 times more by students with low musical self-efficacy than students with high musical self-efficacy. Somatic experiences were cited nearly equally among students regardless of self-efficacy beliefs.

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