An examination of musical instrument practice among collegiate musicians
This dissertation consists of three projects that were designed to investigate collegiate instrumentalists' practice habits and motivation orientations. The first investigation was a review of the literature about instrumental practice strategies, motivation orientations, and social factors influencing music practice. The second investigation was a qualitative descriptive study of four graduate instrumentalists' practice organization, application of practice strategies, and motivation orientations. Emergent themes included (a) task-oriented practice routines, (b) solution-oriented approaches, (c) mixed motivations, and (d) external challenges. The third investigation was a survey study of collegiate instrumentalists' application of practice strategies and their motivation orientations to practice. Results indicated that pianists spent more time in practice than percussionists, brass, other instrumentalists (e.g., organ), woodwind, and string players, respectively. Collegiate instrumentalists used systematic practice strategies most frequently, followed by error correction techniques, using a metronome and listening to recordings, concentration control, analytic strategies, and the organization of practice sessions. In addition, collegiate instrumentalists were more motivated by intrinsic factors than extrinsic factors. Weekly practice hours were negatively correlated with Extrinsic Motivation: Avoid Failure, but positively correlated with Intrinsic Motivation: Growth. Taken together, results from these projects indicated that collegiate instrumentalists should (a) develop and strengthen self-regulation skills, (b) arrange practice time based on individual schedules, and (c) cope with challenges through discussing potential solutions with peers and instrumental instructors.