Measuring distinct types of musical self-efficacy

Ritchie, L. and Williamon, A. (2011) Measuring distinct types of musical self-efficacy. Psychology of Music, 39 (3). pp. 328-344. ISSN 0305-7356 (print) 1741-3087 (online)


This research examines the specific nature of self-efficacy beliefs within music. Separate questionnaires assessing self-efficacy for musical learning and self-efficacy for musical performing were developed and tested, and the reliability of the new questionnaires was demonstrated using internal reliability tests and exploratory factor analysis. A sample of 250 conservatoire and university music students completed the two questionnaires and provided self-ratings of musical skills and attributes. The learning and performing questionnaires produced robust Cronbach alphas of .82 and .78, respectively. Exploratory factor analysis confirmed a single underlying factor within each questionnaire, and the stability of these questionnaires over time was established through the absence of significant differences in test—retest scores over a period of two to four weeks. Conservatoire students’ self-efficacy for musical learning was higher than that of university students, whereas there were no significant differences between conservatoire and university students in self-efficacy for musical performing. The two questionnaires also showed different patterns of correlations with a range of self-assessed musical skills and attributes, further demonstrating their distinctiveness. These results, which underline the need for differentiation in musical self-efficacy, highlight the importance of specificity and correspondence when measuring self-efficacy beliefs. The implications for measuring self-efficacy within other domains are discussed.

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