Student valuations and expectancies for multifarious musical activities
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Previous researchers have found that although music is a highly valued subject, it is not one in which most students are enrolled. For music educators facing recruitment and retention challenges, a study was needed to better understand students' motivation to participate in various musical contexts. Expectancy-value theory provides a framework under which their motivations can be analyzed. A questionnaire was administered to students (N = 372) from one median SES district and one high SES district in the NJSMA region of New Jersey. Students rated their values and expectancies for various musical activities, including band, chorus, orchestra, a cappella, musical theater, informal student-directed groups, individual lessons, non-performance music subjects, and music technology. Results indicated differentiation between various contexts. Musical theater and individual lessons were the highest valued musical contexts. Students also rated their expectancies for success highest for individual lessons. Background factors influenced values and expectancies. Students in the high SES district reported higher values for music than did those in the median district. Female students generally reported higher values and expectancies for vocal music contexts, whereas male students found music technology to be less difficult than did females. Consistent with expectancy-value theory, these values were predictive of the choice to participate.