Self-efficacy beliefs of university music majors with disabilities
Barksdale, Alicia Lynne
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The inclusion of students with disabilities in music education has become an everyday part of of school culture in the United States, through childhood, high school, and continuing to post-secondary study. Although researchers have extensively examined music education methods and strategies for students with disabilities in early childhood and grade school, little is known about the experiences of university music majors with disabilities and the factors that affect their music degree completion. According to the USDE, 19.4% of undergraduate university students and 11.9% of post baccalaureate students report having a disability diagnosis, and students with disabilities complete undergraduate degree programs at a rate of 42%, compared with 54% of the general population. Music majors with disabilities presumably face the same types of academic and social challenges as students with disabilities across undergraduate degree areas, with the addition of rigorous musical performance requirements. In his theory of self-efficacy, Bandura (1997) indicated that the ways in which students develop and exercise their personal efficacy, and their beliefs about their own self-efficacy, play a key role in their career path and adult life. During the transition to post-secondary university life, students must rely more on their own strengths and a sense of self-efficacy with regard to collegiate academics and activities, which may be key in supporting their persistence toward completing a degree. The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of three music majors with disabilities and the factors contributing to their self-efficacy beliefs related to completing a university music degree program. Bandura’s four sources of self-efficacy were used to identify common themes gathered from participant interviews. The study was designed to shed light on the motivations and self-beliefs of these students, and findings may inform music educators in preparing students with disabilities for transition to undergraduate music study.