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The identification of factors contributing to first-year college students' mindset of singing ability, and the relationship of that mindset to intent to participate in singing activities

Susan Helaine Cogdill, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Previous research suggests many adults do not believe they can sing, or hold inaccurate perceptions of their singing ability (Cuddy, Balkwill, Peretz & Holden, 2005; Whidden, 2010; Wise & Sloboda, 2008). Although the singular belief people have about their singing ability may seem of little importance, research shows this may have powerful implications for people's motivation to participate in singing activities (Dweck & Master; 2009; O'Neill, 2002; Wise & Sloboda, 2008). The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify what factors shape mindset of singing ability in first-year college music majors and non-music majors, and to examine the relationship of that mindset to intent to participate in singing activities. A researcher-designed survey was administered to first-year college music majors and non-music majors (N = 426). The survey questions explored possible relationships between mindset (beliefs in singing ability as a fixed trait or potential for growth) and (a) past musical experiences, (b) influence from others, (c) singing identity, and (d) intended participation (Dweck, 2000). As expected, music majors tended to endorse more of a growth mindset of singing ability than non-music majors. Neither gender nor music specialization (voice versus non-voice) were significant factors related to singing mindset orientation. Results indicated a significant relationship between students who participated in high school choir, or in other out-of-school singing activities at this age, to a higher endorsement of a growth mindset orientation. Other predictors were having family members or teachers that encouraged them to sing. When participants were asked what previous feedback they had received about their singing ability they reported a high frequency related to "good" or "not good" in both categories of positive and negative feedback. In addition, students with a growth mindset of singing ability were more likely to hold positive self-evaluations of their singing quality, and participate in future singing activities.^

Subject Area

Education, Music

Recommended Citation

Cogdill, Susan Helaine, "The identification of factors contributing to first-year college students' mindset of singing ability, and the relationship of that mindset to intent to participate in singing activities" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3559156.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3559156

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