A review of research on practicing: summary and synthesis of the extant research with implications for a new theoretical orientation

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Author: Peter Miksza
Date: Fall 2011
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 11,624 words
Lexile Measure: 1480L

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This paper provides a summary and synthesis of the extant research related to music practicing as well as a preliminary presentation of an original instructional theory of practicing. The 119 studies reviewed in this paper are organized according to four central questions about practicing that research has begun to inform: (a) What do individuals do when they practice music? (b) How have researchers intervened with individuals' practice? (c) What individual difference variables interact with why and how musicians practice? and (d) How is self-regulated learning relevant to practicing? Figures summarizing the essential methodological components of selected studies from each category are included. An instructional theory is presented as opposed to a descriptive theory in an attempt to more closely align research and teaching efforts. The instructional theory that is proposed makes considerations for theoretical frameworks employed in previous research. The following components of the practice process in regards to both student's and teacher's influence are included in the new theory: choice, intentionality, action, achievement outcome, and rest and recovery.

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The body of research literature related to practicing has grown tremendously in both quantity and sophistication over the past 30 years. A large group of scholars from around the world (e.g., Australia, England, Norway, the United States) has conducted investigations of musicians ranging in development from elementary beginners to elite professionals. Studies of how musicians of varied experience levels practice and what factors impact their practicing have begun to yield interesting trends and generalizations. The diversity of the extant research in regards to theoretical bases, methodologies, interventions, and related psychological variables has created a rich body of knowledge for researchers and practitioners to draw on when designing studies and/or instruction. Several authors have worked to disseminate the existing research findings on practicing in book publications (e.g., Barry & Hallam, 2002; Jorgensen & Hallam, 2009), while others have written extensively on how practicing could be viewed through theoretical lenses from related fields (e.g., Hallam, 1997b; Jorgensen, 2003; McPherson & Zimmerman, 2002; Zdzinski, 1991). It is clear that research on practicing has advanced significantly since the work of early pioneers (e.g., Brown, 1928; O'Brien, 1943; Rubin-Rabson, 1939, 1940a-b, 1941a-d). However, no published review of the extant research literature exists at this point in time. Furthermore, no attempts have yet to be made at synthesizing the somewhat disparate theoretical frameworks employed thus far.

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize the research on practicing as a step toward proposing a new, overarching theoretical model relevant to music education research and instruction. Music "practice" and "practicing" in this paper refers to individually oriented self-study directed, no matter how strictly, toward attaining musical proficiency on an instrument or the voice. Although practicing overlaps a great deal with other manifestations of musical learning (e.g., score study for conducting, chamber rehearsing, music analysis), this paper is oriented toward performance competence. In addition, while many of the interesting and important aspects of practicing overlap with constructs in other fields (e.g., motor-skill development, athletics, academic study habits, peer learning), only research pertaining specifically to music education will be reviewed herein. Only studies printed in English from peer-reviewed journals or books were included. A total of 119 empirical studies representing both quantitative and qualitative orientations were found to meet the criteria described above. Studies incorporating self-reports of practicing, observations of practice activities/behaviors, practice interventions, and psychological dispositions related to practicing carried out in a musical context are cited.

The following discussion is intended to highlight major findings and methodological approaches (e.g., populations, measures/data collection approaches, study conditions, variables) that have been incorporated in practice research. The discussion is organized in two main sections; the first dealing with central questions about practicing that research has begun to inform and the second offering a sketch of a new theoretical orientation that may inform research and instruction. The existing research will be presented according to the degree of correspondence with the following questions: (a) What do individuals do when they practice music? (b) How have researchers intervened with individuals' practice? (c) What individual difference variables interact with why and how musicians practice? and (d) How is self-regulated learning relevant to practicing? Tables summarizing key elements of each collection of research will be presented.


What Do Individuals Do When They Practice Music?

Research that addresses "what individuals do when they practice" can be categorized as investigations that have addressed comparisons of student and teacher opinions/perspectives, changes in approach to practicing across long spans of time and development, direct observations of strategies used to facilitate memory, and general investigations of reported and/or observed practice behaviors/strategies. Summaries of key structural elements of studies that include objective analyses of practice behaviors are presented in Table 1.

Comparisons of Student and Teacher Opinions/Perspectives

Studies in this category have found that although teachers may be able to estimate their students' practice time and practice consistency with relative accuracy (Duke, Flowers, & Wolfe, 1997), students' and teachers' expectations regarding practice behavior are inconsistent. Barry (2007) found that university studio teachers were not likely to be observed demonstrating strategies in lessons even though they reported doing so often. Barry also found that students' descriptions of how to practice were much less detailed than their teachers. Kostka (2002) found similar inconsistencies when surveying faculty and undergraduate and graduate music majors. Although 69% of the students in this study reported discussing practice strategies with their teachers and 94% of the teachers expected their students to use a regular practice routine, only 45% of the students did so. An earlier study by Barry and Macarthur (1994) determined that piano teachers of elementary to high school age students were not likely to report teaching strategies that were shown to be effective via research. However, university-level teachers were more likely to endorse practicing with a more set routine, mental strategies, and use of a metronome. Hamann and Frost (2000) investigated the practice habits and attitudes of 512 string students, grades 6 through 12, as a function of whether or not they took private lessons. Those taking private lessons reported practicing for more time and more strategically, and being goal-oriented.

Changes in Approach to Practicing across Long Spans of Time and Development

Several researchers have explored how approaches to practicing change/develop over a musician's lifespan via retrospective accounts. Although heavily dependent on participants' memory/recall across great lengths of time, several interesting trends have emerged. Early, middle, and late periods of development have been found, indicating that musicians may often begin practicing early in life with the aid of parents, shift to being more focused on strategy use and intrinsic desires to practice during middle periods, and focus on personal approaches to music making later in their career (MacNamara, Holmes, & Collins, 2006; Manturzewska, 1979, 1990; Sosniak, 1985). A similar shift in practice sophistication was also detected by McPherson (1997), who found that students reported incorporating more sophisticated strategies across three years (i.e., playing by ear, improvising, play from memory, mental rehearsal) and that higher levels of practice sophistication were related to objective measures of several dimensions of performance achievement (e.g., rehearsed music, sight-reading, playing by ear).

Complementary findings were reported by Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer (1993). These researchers explored retrospective reports of 40 violinists. The researchers found that the "best" and "good" violin students practiced more and with greater regularity than those focused on music education and that the projected amounts of practice from beginning their instrument up until age 18 for both groups were starkly different. In the second part of their study, Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer found that "projected amount of accumulated practice" was as good a predictor for achievement on a 9-stroke keyboard task as skill-level categorization suggesting the importance of a threshold of practice for acquiring expertise.

An account of young musicians' development with regards to practice has been provided by Howe and Sloboda (1991a, 1991b; Sloboda & Howe, 1991) who interviewed 42 "average" and "outstanding" students from a British specialty school along with some of their parents. Results suggested that students spent between 200 and 500 hours a year practicing and that parents played an important role in regulating and encouraging practice. Further, half of the participants' parents spoke regularly with their children's teachers about practice. While most students seemed to enjoy performing, many were not self-motivated to practice and most had a hard time maintaining concentration in practice.

McPherson and colleagues have published several articles reporting on a study of beginning instrumentalists across 3 years. In contrast to the studies discussed above, these researchers incorporated a variety of methodological approaches; semi-structured interview, questionnaire, observation, and objective measures of performance achievement. Interview data indicated that children generally overestimated their practice when compared to parents' estimates, that those who did the least practice tended to be more likely to quit playing, and that most students generally found practice to be a chore or boring (McPherson & Davidson, 2002). A closer analysis of 9 participants who began with and maintained a high degree of motivation, gradually decreased in their motivation, or ultimately quit their instrument was reported by Pitts, Davidson, and McPherson (2000a). The students with highest motivation were driven to practice by personal interest, tended to be self-aware in their practice, and had parents who were supportive but did not interfere detrimentally. Those whose motivation waned tended to practice begrudgingly for a "set amount" of time and had parents with casual approaches to support. Participants who quit practiced the least, avoided practicing challenging materials, and, along with their parents, had low expectations of success.

Pitts, Davidson, and McPherson (2000b) also examined 3 participants who exhibited ineffective practicing in unique ways. One participant was independent but tended to be easily distracted by elements in the environment, whereas another was easily frustrated and dishonest about the nature and extent of practicing. The last took a passive, yet slow and serious approach to practicing that was perhaps a result of parents' high pressure expectations. In contrast, Renwick and McPherson (2002) reported on a case that demonstrated a more healthy development over time. This participant began with parental encouragement and tended to practice only easy music. Over time the participant incorporated strategic practicing (mental strategies, repetition of sections) and was motivated to practice preferred songs regardless of difficulty.

In a culminating report of their longitudinal study, McPherson (2005) reported on analyses relating amount and type of practicing to changes in performance achievement across 3 years. Regression analyses indicated that amount of practice completed was a predictor of the performance outcomes "perform rehearsed music" and "sight-read" across all years. The type of strategy participants employed was also a predictor of these two outcomes and was a more powerful predictor of the "sight-read" outcome than amount of practice. Type of strategy used was the only predictor of the outcomes "play from memory," and "play by ear."

Direct Observations of Strategies Used to Facilitate Memory

This category of research includes lines of work dealing primarily with memory in piano performance and in the context of cognitive psychology. In a series of articles, Chaffin and Imreh (1997, 2001, 2002), Chaffin, Imreh, Lemieux, and Chen (2003), and Chaffin and Logan (2006), report on an investigation of 1 pianist's (coauthor Imreh) preparation of a piece by Bach. The articles examined the pianist's observed practice behavior at various stages in the learning process, verbal reports while practicing, as well as recall of the memorized material 2 years following the study. In a preliminary report, Chaffin and Imreh (1997) describe how the pianist first identified formal aspects of the piece for use as memory retrieval cues since the starts, stops, and repetitions observed were more likely to occur at formal boundaries of the composition. Other studies suggested a more complex structure of retrieval cues based on 3 musical dimensions: basic--familiar patterns, fingerings, technical difficulties; interpretive--phrasing, dynamics, tempo, pedal; and expressive--basic, interpretive, and emotional (Chaffin & Imreh, 2001, 2001). These dimensions and their associated retrieval cues were found to generally predict locations of starts, stops, and repetitions in practice. Further, a trend was detected in that the participant tended to practice basic dimension material at first and interpretive dimension material later. In contrast, analyses from several other studies of practice in a more global sense suggested that four stages of learning were evident: "scouting-it-out," "section-by-section," "gray stage," and "maintenance" (Chaffin, 2007; Chaffin et al., 2003; Chaffin et al., 2009). The stages suggest that the pianist first created an artistic image of the piece early on, then transformed the image into a practice plan, and finally added interpretive details.

Other examinations of pianists' memorization have focused on the use of retrieval structures when practicing as well (Williamon & Valentine, 2002; Williamon, Valentine, & Valentine, 2002). The practice tasks employed in these studies led to a memorized recital for each participant that was scored as a measure of performance achievement. Pianists of higher competence were more likely to start on structural bars (e.g., related to form) when practicing, especially as time went on. The researchers also found that fewer starts and stops occurred on difficult bars over time and that the frequency of structural starts was significantly related to the performance criteria. Williamon, Valentine, and Valentine (2002) studied length of practice segment used and how it changed leading up to performance. They found that practice segment length and variance of segment length generally increased over time and suggest that this represents a shift of attention across hierarchical elements of music. Taking a different approach, Ginsborg (2002) observed student and professional singers' practice for memorizing a song as if for public performance. The numerous practice behaviors observed were categorized as either "attempts" or "errors." Results of this study indicated those with better memory were more likely to count aloud when practicing and those who were more proficient memorizers tended to use a wider array of practice strategies.

General Investigations of Reported and/or Observed Practice Behaviors/Strategies

Several researchers have explored collegiate musicians' amount and use of practice time broadly conceived. Jorgensen (1997, 2002) surveyed collegiate students to compare the amount of time spent practicing as a function of degree program, year of study, and instrument studied. He found that vocal students practiced the least and that piano students practiced the most followed in descending order by strings, brass, and woodwinds. Jorgensen (2002) also found that practice amounts reported by subjects with "excellent" performance evaluations were significantly higher than those who received "very good" or "good" ratings. In an observational study of collegiate practicing, Geringer and Kostka (1984) observed behaviors classified as either performance (e.g., solo/ensemble music, technical exercises, conducting) or nonperformance activities (e.g., reading/writing, getting ready) across 2,000 occasions. Performance activities accounted for 72% of the observations with solo playing the most frequent behavior exhibited. In contrast, nonperformance activities were only observed 28% of the time. In addition, no correlations were found between observations and self-report estimates from 100 musicians.

Other researchers have studied the practicing of younger musicians in an attempt to explain varied degrees of musical success. O'Neill (1997) compared the practice diaries of instrumentalists ages 6 to 10 across a 2-week period. Differences were found between low and high achieving students' practice minutes, medium and low achieving students' number of days practiced, and the degree of parental involvement high achievers received compared to low achievers. In each case, the higher achieving group had a greater quantity. Sloboda, Davidson, Howe, and Moore (1996) conducted a similar study of 257 student musicians' (ages 8 to 18) practicing across 42 weeks, who were categorized according to the following: (a) gained entrance to a music specialist school, (b) auditioned but did not get into the specialist school, (c) inquired about the specialist school but did not audition, (d) enrolled in music in a nonspecialist school, and (e) ceased singing or playing an instrument. Similar to Jorgensen (1997, 2002), pianists were found to practice the most and vocalists the least. Students gaining entrance to a music specialist school reported more time practicing repertoire and technical work, more technical work in the mornings, and practicing with more consistency across weeks. Results also indicated that regardless of current achievement level, the same approximate threshold of accumulated practice time was necessary to achieve each successive competence level on a national exam.

Several researchers have worked to categorize participants as particular types of practicers by inferring from observational analyses and/or self-reports. Hallam (1995a, 1995b, 1997a, 1997c, 2001a, 2001b) has published several articles based on the practicing of 22 professional musicians and 55 novice string players. In her studies of the professional musicians, Hallam (1995a, 1995b) found that all did not all practice regularly, most needed an external goal for motivation, most did not use a set routine, and 40 minutes was considered an optimal practice session length. Hallam drew from the theoretical work of Sloboda (1985), Pask (1976), and Perry (1970) to categorize the musicians as technical or musical, serialist or holist, and situated on a relative position of epistemological development, respectively. A majority of the participants were labeled as technical in their approach, versatile in regards to being holists or serialists, and relatively far along on Perry's continuum of intellectual development.

Hallam (1997a, 1997c, 2001a) also compared the practice tendencies of the novice and professional musicians. These studies were based on interviews with both groups as well as observations of the novices' practice with an accompanying measure of performance achievement. The topics studied include practice strategies, approaches to interpretation, approaches to memorization, and dealing with performance anxiety. Findings relevant to the novices included a tendency to play straight through music without stopping to correct errors; somewhat older novices practiced more, used more repetition behaviors, and demonstrated more planning; those using more strategic practice behaviors had higher performance achievement scores; and memorization strategies consisted of repetition for the sake of automaticity. Findings relevant to the professionals included evidence of metacognition (e.g., self-awareness, strategy knowledge, planning, monitoring, evaluating), memory strategies based on structure of music and analysis, and cognitive strategies used to offset potential performance anxiety. Finally, Hallam's (2001b) report of the novice musicians alone indicated that large discrepancies existed between observations and self-reports of practice, participants practiced more in preparation for an exam, and stronger correlations were detected between participants' grade level and achievement than the degree of reported strategy use.

Rohwer and Polk (2006) explored eighth-grade band students' self-reported strategy use and observed practice behavior during a 5-minute session. Relations between practicing and performance achievement were also examined. Participants reporting a greater number of practice strategies had the highest achievement scores. In a manner similar to Hallam, the participants were categorized as being either holistic (e.g., going straight through the music) or analytic (e.g., breaking the music down) practicers, based on their observed practicing. Analytic practicers had significantly higher performance achievement scores than holistic practicers.

DaCosta (1999) presented 28 wind, piano, and string students with the option of practicing for 5 weeks using researcher-created scripts designated as varied or structured practice. Varied practice entailed presenting a number of strategies participants could apply at their own choosing whereas structured practice entailed step-by-step approaches to improving. Most students chose to use the varied practice approach and reported feeling as though their playing was improved (i.e., more fluent, technique improved, could play more from memory).

In contrast to the studies above that dealt with practicing in relatively broad strokes, other researchers have identified and quantified the presence of very specific behaviors during musicians' practice. Barry (1991) surveyed incoming undergraduates and collegiate faculty to determine attitudes and approaches toward practice. Students reported being more likely to play through entire pieces whereas faculty participants reported the following strategies with significantly greater frequency: focusing on trouble spots, mental rehearsal, scanning a piece before playing, playing slowly, and using a metronome. Similarly, McPherson and Renwick's (2001) analysis of two sessions of 7 participants' practice across two years revealed that simply playing through a piece of music occurred 90% of the time or more.

Other studies have examined repetition behaviors in more depth. Miklaszewski (1989) found that the pianist in his study practiced smaller sections in the early stages of learning a piece and gradually shifted to playing larger sections, although the participant's short-term goals throughout the sessions changed rapidly. Maynard (2006) examined each of her participants' two observed practice sessions with respect to "practice frames" (i.e., consecutive trials on a target passage). She found that pianists exhibited the most trials and trombonists exhibited the least. However, the duration of practice trial was longest for wind players and shortest for pianists.

Researchers have also examined the presence of specific, quantifiable practice behaviors in relation to performance achievement. Gruson (1988) found positive relationships between pianists' competence level and the behaviors repeating sections, guide, hands separate, verbal, and time whereas, negative correlations were found between competence and the behaviors error, repeat note, and pause. Williamon and Valentine (2000) report similar results in that participants who tended to play larger segments of music also tended to be more competent. In a later study of pianists' practice, Duke, Simmons, and Cash (2009) found that the 3 top-ranked players in their study were more likely to exhibit the following: location and source of errors were identified, rehearsed, and corrected; the tempo of individual performance trials varied systematically; and practice targets were repeated until errors were fixed.

A series of studies by Miksza (2006a, 2007, 2011) with samples of high school and collegiate wind players report findings similar to those above. However, these studies included additional controls (i.e., time spent practicing, musical materials) as well as pre-and post-test achievement measures. In each study, positive relationships were found between performance achievement and the strategies repeat section larger than one measure and whole-part-whole. Other behaviors related to performance achievement across the studies were marking part, varying pitch, slowing, skipping directly to or before critical sections of the etude, chaining, using metronome, and singing, whistling, and buzzing. In addition, high school participants' practice across 3 days revealed a consistent approach in regards to practice behaviors used, disparities between self-evaluations of practice efficiency and achievement, and curvilinear growth in performance (i.e., day 1--rapid gains, day 2--peak in improvement, day 3--plateau).

Finally, several studies have been conducted that investigate very specific types of musical achievement and/or relatively unique populations in the literature. Rosenthal, Durairaj, and Magann (2009) examined high school, collegiate, and studio faculty musicians' approaches to practicing expressivity. The participants watched a 10-minute video of their practice and commented freely. Of the total comments, 29% pertained to expression. Older participants' comments were more goal-oriented and proactive, whereas younger participants' comments were more reactive. Killian and Henry (2005) studied practice behaviors used by high school singers immediately before a sight-reading task. More accurate singers were also more likely to tonicize, sing out loud, practice the whole task in 30 seconds, and isolate problems.

Rohwer (2005) examined the use (or lack thereof) of routine, corrective behaviors, and error detection abilities among adult beginner instrumentalists. Although several strategies were evident, the participants had difficulty identifying trouble spots and evaluating their own progress. Nielsen (1997) analyzed an organist's verbal commentary while watching a video of one practice session. In contrast to Rohwer's (2005) study, many statements were made reflecting problem recognition and self-evaluation and considerations were often based on musical features of the piece. Nielsen (1999) also observed two organists across approximately four weeks of practice. The practice was organized into two learning periods, the first being concerned with playing chunks/segments and focusing on technical work and the second concerned with playing the whole piece of music while adding interpretive elements. Strategies used across the periods were categorized as selection (e.g., visual examination/chunks), organization (systematic repetition), and integration (imagery, association).

How Have Researchers Intervened with Individuals' Practice?

Studies designed to test the relative effectiveness of practice strategies have primarily been focused on the use of modeling and mental practice. Other practice methods that have been tested include the use of weekly practice reports, behavioral contracts, a distraction index, and the relative effects of structured versus free practice. The effect of rest/sleep as well as training systems based on motor schema theory and metacognitive techniques have also been examined. Given that most of the details pertaining to each study's methodology are presented in Table 2, only summaries of treatments and results will be discussed.

Studies by Fortney (1992), Linklater (1997), Rosenthal (1984), Rosenthal, Wilson, Evans, and Greenwalt (1988) and Zurcher (1975) each compared the effect of a model compared to no model or free practice. Collectively, their results indicated that the use of a model was more effective than no model or free practice. However, Rosenthal (1984) found that modeling along with a verbal guide was no more effective than modeling alone. Zurcher (1975) also found that the use of a model also led to more time spent practicing. Linklater (1997) found differential effects for aural and visual modeling such that the group incorporating both aural and visual modeling scored significantly higher than groups of aural or visual modeling alone on visual performance criteria (e.g., embouchure, posture). Subjects in the combined aural/visual group also performed better on tone quality and intonation three months after the start of the study.

The effects of modeling have also been examined in conjunction with elements of participants' self-evaluation (Hewitt, 2001) and self-listening (Hewitt, 2001; Puopolo, 1971). Hewitt (2001) investigated the relative effects of all possible combinations of model versus no model, self-listening versus no self-listening, and self-evaluation versus no self-evaluation. Subjects who were in a modeling condition and self-evaluation condition improved significantly more than those in a no-model condition. Puopolo (1971) explored the effects of participants recording their own playing to use as a model. Those in the self-listening (e.g., tape-recorded) condition outperformed those in the control group on sight-reading in this study. Henley (2001) tested the relative effectiveness of model versus no model in combination with three different tempo practice patterns (increase, performance speed, alternating slow/fast). Subjects in the modeling condition made significantly greater gains than those in the no-model condition. However, variations in tempo patterns had no significant effects on the subjects' performance.

A number of studies have drawn from research in motor-skill learning to examine the effects of mental practice on music performance achievement. Three studies have examined the effect of various mental practice conditions on keyboard tasks. Coffman's (1990) study compared the performance of participants that were assigned to one of the eight following treatment conditions--physical practice, mental practice, physical/mental practice combined, control, each with or without knowledge of results. Those in the physical and physical/mental practice combined groups performed the best. Lim and Lippman (1991) compared pianists' performance on an etude as a function of mental practice, mental practice with listening to a model, or physical practice alone. Results indicated that participants in the physical practice group performed the best, followed by mental practice with listening, and mental practice alone. Highben and Palmer (2004) investigated the relative effects of so-called normal (i.e., fingering), motor only (fingering, no sound present), auditory only (sound, no fingering), and covert (no fingering, no sound) practice treatments on the performance of adult pianists. Participants in the covert condition performed significantly worse than all others. However, an interaction between condition and aural skill ability demonstrated that participants with lower aural skills performed worse in the two conditions with no sound.

Other researchers have investigated the effectiveness of mental practice and mental/ physical practice combined. Ross (1985), as well as VanderArk and Murphy (1998), found that those in the mental/physical practice combined group made significantly greater gains than participants in the mental or physical practice alone groups. Similarly, Miksza (2005) found no differences between groups of mental and physical practice combined and a physical practice alone group even when different types of mental practice were encouraged. Theiler and Lippman (1995) found that vocalists performed better in mental practice with a model condition whereas, guitarists performed best in mental or physical practice conditions. In a somewhat unique approach, Cahn (2008) found that participants in mental practice alone and 33% physical/66% mental practice combined groups had superior scores on an easy improvisation task whereas, those in physical practice alone and 66% physical/33% mental practice combined groups had better scores on a difficult task.

Drawing once again from research in motor-skill acquisition, researchers have tested the relative effectiveness of variable practice (Pacey, 1993; Welch, 1985) with or without knowledge of results (Welch, 1985). Pacey's (1993) study involving string players practicing with varied sequences of bow length revealed that upward trends in performance achievement were evident following variable practice. Welch (1985) investigated the relative effectiveness of providing visual feedback via an oscilloscope with and without knowledge of results on the pitch matching abilities of young children. Visual feedback with knowledge of results was most effective.

Another group of studies involve examining the effects of sleep (Duke & Davis, 2006; Simmons & Duke, 2006) and rest (Cash, 2009) on memory consolidation (i.e., learning occurring after practice) of keyboard tasks. Simmons and Duke (2006) found improved temporal evenness but not performance speed in performance after sleep. Another study reported similar positive effects of sleep except when participants learned a new sequence of keyboard strokes in close proximity to the first (Duke & Davis, 2006). Cash (2009) found that introducing 5 minutes of rest in a learning sequence improved performance of a simple keyboard task. In addition, introducing rest early in a learning sequence led to a trajectory of improvement throughout the learning period whereas introducing rest late in the sequence did not.

Studies of methods for encouraging students to practice include Wagner's (1975) investigation of the effects of a practice card and Wolfe's (1987) study of the effectiveness of behavioral contracts. Wagner (1975) compared students who completed practice reports at various weeks across an 8-week period and found that those who completed practice reports at weeks 5 and 6 reported more practice time than those completing reports at all 8 weeks or weeks 1, 2, 5, and 6. Wolfe (1975) found that students met their practice goals (e.g., minutes per week) when completing a contract and that some maintained their practicing after a 4-week follow-up.

Madsen and Geringer (1981) tested the effect of using a distraction index on performance achievement. Participants were asked to fill out a record that included amount of time practiced and self-evaluation of practice effectiveness. Those in the experimental group also marked the number of distractions they experienced while practicing each day. Performance scores of those in the distraction index group improved significantly more than those in the control group. Furthermore, the group using the distraction index was observed being on-task more frequently. Barry (1992) examined the comparative effects of structured and free practice conditions on performance achievement. Free practice was left up to the student to determine, whereas structured practice entailed being guided through a written procedure (e.g., identify key and meter, silent fingering, slow repetition). The subjects in the structured practice group improved significantly more than those in the free practice group.

What Individual Difference Variables Interact with Why and How Musicians Practice?

Researchers have examined how motivation orientations, preferences of cognitive style, and personality traits interact with practicing. Studies of motivation orientations account for the greatest quantity of studies in this category (see Table 3). Generally, studies of motivation orientations toward practice suggest that students are motivated most by satisfying internal needs (Hamann, Lucas, Frost, & Teachout, 1998; Schmidt, 2005, 2007), challenge (Ciabattari, 2004; Miksza, 2006b), achieving personal goals, and mastering tasks for the sake of self-improvement (Miksza, 2006b, 2009b; Schmidt, 2005, 2007). Students who are more committed to musical studies (Schmidt, 2007) and who have positive musical self-perceptions are likely to practice more than those who do not.

Several researchers have also reported relationships between motivational constructs and students' self-reports of practice quantity and strategy use. Self-efficacy has been found to be positively related to reports of time spent on formal and informal practicing (McCormick & McPherson, 2003; McPherson & McCormick, 2006) as well as cognitive strategy use (Nielsen, 2004). Harnischmacher (1997) found that participants who were more goal-oriented were more likely to report using a wider variety of practice strategies and practice more creatively. Researchers have also found those intrinsically motivated to pursue music were more likely to engage in creative practice activities, repertoire work, technical work (McPherson & McCormick, 1999), and formal practice (Miksza, 2006b, 2009b). In addition, McPherson and McCormick (2000) found that participants with internal attributions for success and failure were more likely to have higher performance achievement scores than those who did not.

Studies have also revealed relationships between practice behavior and achievement goal motivation orientations. Miksza (2009a) reported a positive relationship between students with mastery-approach achievement goal orientations and the observed behavior skipping directly to or before critical spots in an etude. Similarly, Smith (2005) found positive relationships between task (i.e., mastery) orientations and self-reported practice strategies. In addition, Miksza (2010) found that students with performance achievement goal orientations were less likely to exhibit the strategic behavior chaining.

Barry (1992) also examined how the cognitive style field-dependence/independence (FD/I) interacted with the experimental treatment of structured versus free practice. Participants were matched by FD/I scores and sex and were assigned to either the free or structured practice group. A 3-way interaction effect (p < .05) was detected for practice condition, sex, and FD/I on the performance criterion rhythmic achievement. The findings indicated that both field-dependent and field-independent females in the free practice group achieved significantly higher rhythmic accuracy scores than both field-dependent and field-independent males in the free practice group.

A musician's practice may also differ as a function of the personality trait impulsiveness. In his study of collegiate brass players, Miksza (2006a) found that less impulsive participants made significantly greater gains in performance achievement than those who were more impulsive across a single practice session. When investigating high school wind players, Miksza (2009a) found that less impulsive wind players began a 3-day practice study with higher performance achievement scores than more impulsive students and maintained that achievement gap. In addition, Miksza (2010) found that less impulsive collegiate participants had higher performance achievement scores than more impulsive participants and that the gap was maintained across a 23-minute practice session. In regard to observed practice behaviors, Miksza (2009a) found that less impulsive participants were more likely to exhibit the strategies whole-part-whole and slowing, whereas Miksza (2010) found that more impulsive participants were more likely to vary the pitch of the material they practiced and less likely to repeat larger sections of music.

How Is Self-Regulated Learning Relevant to Practicing?

Research regarding self-regulation theory has recently become prominent in the practice literature. McPherson and Zimmerman (2002) have described how self-regulation, with its roots in Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, is relevant to understanding how musicians develop as effective practicers. They describe the salient dimensions of self-regulated practicing as (a) motive (e.g., work through distractions, parental influence, self-motivation), (b) method (e.g., task-oriented strategies, mental strategies, self-instruction), (c) time management (e.g., planning, management, concentrate focus on tasks), (d) behavior (e.g., metacognition, self-evaluation/monitoring), (e) environment (e.g., physical structure), and (f) social factors (e.g., parental involvement, siblings, peers, help-seeking). Consistent with the theoretical description provided by McPherson and Zimmerman (2002), most studies reviewed in this section include a motivational construct (e.g., intrinsic value, self-efficacy). Only results pertaining to the remaining dimensions of the theory are described here since motivation is discussed elsewhere.

There are many consistencies among the studies reported in this section. For example, all except one (Nielsen, 2004) are studies with samples of school-aged instrumentalists. In addition, all studies that have incorporated a quantitative measure of self-regulation have adapted and/or supplemented a measure by Pintrich and DeGroot (1990) designed to assess middle school students' self-regulatory behavior in the context of academics. Further, all of the studies but one (Nielsen, 2004) have examined their measure with factor analysis. Methodological considerations for studies incorporating a quantitative design are summarized in Table 4.

The aforementioned longitudinal study reported by McPherson and colleagues has indicated that beginner instrumentalists are not likely to be self-regulated in their practice. Results suggest that beginners can benefit from relatively low-pressure parental support with moderate expectations (McPherson & Renwick, 2001; Moore, Burland, & Davdison, 2003; Pitts et al., 2001a, 2001b), that even after 3 years of study beginners will tend to play straight through materials while leaving errors uncorrected (McPherson & Renwick, 2001) or altogether avoid material that may require applying self-regulated behavior to improve (Renwick & McPherson, 2002), that students may spend much time practicing while distracted (e.g., shuffling papers, talking, fiddling) (McPherson & Renwick, 2001), and that even if highly motivated students can demonstrate self-awareness they still may not have strategies available or be able to draw upon strategies that help them improve (Pitts et al., 2001a, 2001b). In contrast, Austin and Berg (2006) found intermediate instrumentalists' reports of "what others would see" if they looked in on their practice and how they would practice a difficult piece of music included self-regulatory-like dispositions such as help seeking, strategic repetition, and slowing.

Relationships have been detected between musicians' abilities to self-regulate their practice and several variables pertinent to music learning. For example, relationships between practice strategy use and performance achievement suggest that as students gain competence, they also become more able to self-regulate their practice (e.g., organize sessions, scan music for problems, use mental strategies) (McPherson, 2005). Similar results were reported by McPherson and McCormick (2000) who found self-reported self-regulation to be a significant predictor of performance achievement. When comparing the practicing of professionals and novices, Hallam (2001a) found that professionals were more likely to report metacognitive thinking, analysis of musical problems, sophisticated strategy use, organization of practice, and an ability to concentrate. Furthermore, several researchers have found positive relationships between reports of self-regulatory practice behavior and amount of time spent practicing (Austin & Berg, 2006) and amount of formal practice in particular (McPherson & McCormick, 1999, 2006; Miksza, 2006b). In regards to environment, Austin and Berg (2006) found that the degree of practice regulation reported among intermediate instrumentalists was positively related to the degree to which they had a quiet place at home to practice in.

Several studies have explored links between self-regulatory practicing and self-efficacy or self-evaluations of practicing. McCormick and McPherson (2003) and McPherson and McCormick (2006) found that reports of self-regulation were positively related to cognitive strategy use and self-efficacy. A study by Nielsen (2004) with collegiate musicians found that participants with higher self-efficacy beliefs were more likely to report using cognitive, metacognitive, and resource strategies when practicing. Finally, Miksza (2006b) found positive relationships between participants' self-evaluations of practice efficiency and reports of concentration and metacognitive-reflective strategies.


Researchers have drawn upon several diverse theoretical frameworks in their investigations of practicing. Theories that have been incorporated in practice research include social-psychological portrayals (Hallam, 1997b, Jorgensen, 2003), models of epistemological development (Hallam, 1995b), descriptions of cognitive memory processes (e.g., Chaffin, 2007; Duke & Davis, 2006), self-regulation theory (e.g., McPherson & Zimmerman, 2002), and a theory of the acquisition of musical expertise (e.g., Lehmann & Ericsson, 1997). These theoretical bases are each drawn from related disciplines outside of music such as cognitive psychology (e.g., Chase & Simon, 1973; Walker, 2005), educational psychology (Pask, 1973; Perry, 1970; Zimmerman, 1986), motor skill development (Fitts & Posner, 1967), and a general theory of the acquisition of expertise (Ericsson, 1996). Music education researchers could also benefit from theoretical foundations built on evidence from research within music education.

Furthermore, music education researchers must continue to be concerned with how studies of theoretical processes inform practical application for the sake of improved instruction. This concern is not new. Dewey (1900, p. 110) called for a "linking science" in educational research to bridge the often-large divide between theoretical and practical concerns. In contrast to descriptive theories such as those referenced in the paragraph above, the purpose of instructional theory is to provide a framework for learning that has prescriptive implications for research and teaching (e.g., Bruner, 1966). In other words, the overarching purpose of instructional theory is to bridge potential divides between descriptive theory and practice (Glaser, 1976; Hosford, 1973). Gordon (1968, p. 3) defines a theory of instruction as "a set of statements based on sound replicable research, which would permit one to predict how particular changes in the educational environment would affect pupil learning." Consequently, instructional theories are helpful for researchers and teachers who are concerned with designing studies and educational programs in an effort to solve instructional problems (Hosford, 1973; Snelbecker, 1974). Essential criteria for instructional theory presented by Gordon (1968) and Hosford (1973) include the following: terms/components must be defined adequately, boundaries and limitations must be stated, theory should be consistent with empirical data, and the theory must generalize logically beyond existing data. Instructional theory should be rooted in theoretical understandings of the learning process and often is most effective when hybridization of existing theories occurs (Reigeluth & Carr-Chellman, 2009).

What follows is a preliminary sketch of an instructional theory of practicing that highlights salient variables important for further research and/or instructing a musician in how to practice. This theory is conceived with a relatively traditional model of direct and purposeful instruction between a teacher and a student in mind. Similarly, practice is thought of as a relatively traditional term and readers are referred to the definition presented in the introduction of this paper. As a result, indirect sociological effects of peers, communities of learning, as well as teachers' psychological dispositions and other such variables, while certainly important to learning, are not explicitly included as components of this particular theory. However, no theories or models are beyond critique or revision (Cady, 1992; Dubin, 1969; Edwards, 1992) and future testing and development could result in extensions that include such elements.

The essential components of the proposed theory are intended to represent the primary variables that are mostly directly relevant to learning efficient and effective approaches to practice, and include: choice, intentionality, action, achievement outcome, and rest and recovery (see Figure 1). Each component represents what can be considered essential steps and processes in demonstrating and perhaps determining effective practice, and acknowledges an influence of both student and teacher at each critical juncture. Further, the ultimate outcome that this instructional theory and accompanying model are intended to highlight is the process of becoming a good practicer rather than simply gaining performance competence.


Choice refers to the students' decision to practice, which may in some cases be impacted by their teacher's expectations (e.g., requiring amounts of time to practice, practice assignments). Intentionality refers to the degree of purpose (e.g., deliberate, formal practice) that a student brings to practice. A student's evaluation of his or her own strengths and/or weaknesses as well as a teacher's assessment of what needs to be improved may impact degree of intentionality. Action is simply what takes place during practice and is influenced by a student's "repertoire" of practice strategies available as well as a teacher's instruction, or lack thereof, on how to practice. The achievement outcome component is hypothesized to be most directly related to the action undertaken in practice, often results in some form of formal or informal teacher evaluation, and has an impact on a student's self-perceptions (i.e., reflection). Rest and recovery is included as the final component in this somewhat linear description. Individual differences, such as motivation orientation, cognitive style, and personality, are hypothesized to interact with student disposition and behavior at each step in the process. Finally, the model presented can also be seen to operate on a developmental continuum in that greater proportions of student and/or teacher direction would be expected to be influential at various points in development, that is, as students become more sophisticated and independent in their practice.

Although a complete logical analysis or empirical verification of this instructional theory is beyond the scope of this paper, the extensive review of literature presented above provides preliminary evidence for the importance of each primary component described. Research presented that deals with the impact of motivation, field dependence/independence, and impulsivity suggests that psychological individual differences among learners may have an important role in decisions to practice, self-perceptions of ability, practice effectiveness, and attributions of success and failure. Studies examining changes in approach to practice over lifespans and development, deliberate practice and the acquisition of expertise, self-regulation, and students' evaluations of their own performance indicate that approaching practice with varying degrees of intentionality may ultimately have significant effects on musical outcomes. Studies of specific practice behaviors/strategies, research regarding self-regulated practicing, as well as practice interventions make obvious the relevancy and intricate nature of the action component of the theory. In addition, practice research regarding self-regulation, attributions of success and failure, and self-efficacy implicates the importance of students' reflections and teacher evaluations. Finally, studies of the effects of sleep/rest on performance and memory as well as conceptions of deliberate practice highlight the need for rest/recovery.

The goal of this review of literature and accompanying theoretical framework, even in its preliminary form, is to inform researchers and teachers when considering important characteristics and processes relevant to effective practicing. For example, investigations of practice drawing from this theory could be designed to focus on a single particular component, relations among components, or a systems-type analysis of many components operating in sync. In doing so, a more complete account of what leads to effective practicing may be gained. In addition, findings related to this relatively prescriptive instructional theory would perhaps also have more direct implications for teaching than those based on descriptive theory since results could potentially be more clearly associated with instructional planning and decisionmaking. Given the fact that this theory rests on a large and diverse collection of empirical findings, teachers may also benefit from consulting this theory. For example, teachers who extrapolate instructional plans/methods for helping students become more effective in their practice could do so with at least some sense of confidence that their work would be rooted in rigorous research.


This paper represents a twofold effort, a comprehensive review of research on practicing and a presentation of an original instructional theory for the purpose of enhancing research and teaching. Findings regarding what people do when they practice, how researchers have intervened with musicians' practice, individual difference variables that interact with practice, and self-regulatory practice behavior were summarized and discussed. The diversity of theoretical frameworks employed thus far was considered as well. A synthesis of the extant research was presented in the form of an instructional theory that describes the essential elements and influences related to becoming an effective practicer. The instructional theory provides a new framework for researchers to consider when designing studies and is also prescriptive for teachers in that the variables presented represent critical issues for instruction in efficient and effective practice. It is hoped that the material presented will aid researchers and teachers in their design of studies and instruction as the already large body of literature on practicing continues to grow and diversify.


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Peter Miksza

Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Table 1
Studies Incorporating Observations of Music Practice Behaviors

Author(s)                /Performer             Time Observed

Chaffin (2007)           N=1; professional      7 sessions, 4.75 hrs
                         concert pianist (a)

Chaffin & Imreh (1997)   N=1; professional      58 sessions (c)
                         concert pianist

Chaffin &                N=1; professional      42 sessions, 28.5
Imreh (2002)             concert pianist (a)    hrs of practice

Chaffin, et al.          N=1; professional      12 sessions, 11.3
(2003)                   concert pianist (a)    hrs of practice

Chaffin, et al.          N=1; professional      75 sessions, 33
(2009)                   cellist                hrs (c) of practice

Chaffin & Logan (2006)   N=1; professional      58 sessions (c)
                         concert pianist (a)

Duke, Simmons,           N=17; undergraduate    1 session (time
& Cash (2009)            and graduate piano     var. by subject)

Geringer &               2000 "practice         8 weeks
Kostka (1984)            rooms" observed

Ginsborg (2002)          N=13; singers;         2 weeks, 6
                         students, amateurs,    sessions, 1.5
                         professionals          hrs of practice

Gruson (1988)            N=43; pianists;        1 session (n=43),
                         ages 6-46              10 sessions (n=16)
                                                (time var.
                                                by subject)

Hallam (1997a)           N=55; strings;         1 session, 10 mins
                         ages 6-18

Hallam (2001a)           N=55; strings;         1 session, 10 mins
                         ages 6-18 (d)

Hallam (2001b)           N=55; strings;         1 session, 10 mins
                         ages 6-18 (d)

Killian &                N=198; singers;        30-sec practice
Henry (2005)             high school age        trial before sight--
                                                reading task

Maynard (2006)           N=19; brass,           2 sessions, mean
                         woodwind, string;      of 88 mins
                         college studio
                         undergraduate and
                         graduate music

McPherson &              N=7; winds;            3-yr study,
Renwick (2001)           beginners              2 sessions year 1
                                                (n=7), 2 sessions
                                                year 2 (n=5), Length
                                                in mins not reported

Miklaszewski             N=1; conservatory      4 sessions, 48-90
(1989)                   piano student          mins each
Miksza (2006a)           N=40; brass;           1 session, 23 mins
                         and graduate
                         music majors

Miksza (2007)            N=60; brass and        3 sessions, 75 mins
                         woodwind; high
                         school age

Miksza (2011)            N=55; brass and        1 session, 23 mins
                         undergraduate and
                         graduate music

Nielsen (1999)           N=2; conservatory      2 sessions, 1 hr
                         organists              each, (c) across
                                                2 learning periods

Renwick &                N=1; clarinet;         6 sessions, across
McPherson (2002)         beginner               3 yrs

Rohwer (2005)            N=3; saxophone;        474-920 mins of
                         beginners; ages        practice across
                         57-76                  3 wks

Rohwer &                 N=65; woodwind,        5 mins
Polk (2006)              brass, bells;
                         8th--grade band

Williamon &              N=22; 4 levels of      >9 sessions (time
Valentine (2000)         competence based       var by subjects,
                         on English grading     NS)

Williamon &              N=22; 4 levels of      >9 sessions, (time
Valentine                competence based       var by subjects, NS)
(2002)                   on English grading
                         system (e)

Williamon,               N=22, 4 levels of      >9 sessions, (time
Valentine, &             competence based       var by subjects, NS)
Valentine                on English grading
(2002)                   system (e)
(Study 1)

Author(s)                Included

Chaffin (2007)           Starts and stops; repetitions; target
                         tempo; practice rate (number of
                         practice segments x mean length
                         of practice segments in bars x 3
                         beats/bar)/(playing time in minutes);
                         playing time; rate/tempo ratio (rate
                         of practice/target tempo)

Chaffin & Imreh (1997)   Starts and stops (practice segments)

Chaffin &                Starts and stops; repetitions;
Imreh (2002)             inter--bar--intervals; hesitations; pausing

Chaffin, et al.          Starts and stops; repetitions;
(2003)                   inter--bar--intervals; slowing

Chaffin, et al.          Starts and stops; repetitions

Chaffin & Logan (2006)   Starts and stops; repetitions

Duke, Simmons,           Playing hands together early in
& Cash (2009)            practice; practice with inflection
                         early on; practice was thoughtful (e.g.,
                         silent pauses, making notes); errors
                         preempted by stopping in anticipation
                         of mistakes; errors addressed
                         immediately when they appeared;
                         location and source of errors were
                         tempo of individual performance
                         trials varied systematically; target
                         practice was repeated until errors fixed

Geringer &               Performance categories: solo music
Kostka (1984)            practice, ensemble music practice,
                         technical exercise practice, conducting
                         practice, other. Nonperformance
                         categories: read/write/look at music,
                         getting ready, other.

Ginsborg (2002)          Attempts: accompanying, counting,
                         counting from memory, playing the
                         melody, singing the words, singing
                         the words from memory, speaking the
                         words, vocalizing. Errors: words (word
                         meaning, word sounds, word omission),
                         underlay (problems fitting words to
                         melody), music (pitch errors, rhythm
                         errors, duration errors, omission errors)

Gruson (1988)            Uninterrupted playing; error; repeat--note/
                         measure/section/piece; slow; pause; fast;
                         guide; read; count; frustration; hands
                         separate; give up; play other; person--
                         interruption; total time; tempo

Hallam (1997a)           Repetition behaviors: errors; planning--ID
                         of problem spots/completed task/
                         limited time off--task

Hallam (2001a)           Errors; corrections; stops; starts; poor
                         intonation; inaccurate rhythm; faltering;
                         repetitions (short sections/large sections/
                         whole piece); nonplaying analysis;
                         speaking letter names; clapping rhythms;
                         frustration/boredom; slowing; planning--
                         ID of problem spots/completed task/
                         limited time off--task

Hallam (2001b)           Repetition; nonplaying analysis;
                         line--by--line practice; playing through
                         whole piece or sections without correction;
                         speaking letter names; clapping rhythms;
                         correcting single notes; repeating sections
                         (more but unspecified)

Killian &                Tonicized; hand signs; sang out loud;
Henry (2005)             finished in 30 sec; isolated problems

Maynard (2006)           Repetition behaviors: number and
                         length of performance trials during
                         researcher--selected practice segments

McPherson &              Types of practicing coded (repertoire,
Renwick (2001)           technical, informal); specific behaviors
                         (playing only, moving, counting,
                         thinking, singing, fingering,
                         run--through); nonpractice behaviors
                         (finding exercise, talk, fiddle with
                         instrument, resting, day--dreaming,
                         distracted, frustration)

Miklaszewski             Slowing; right/left hand alone; both hands;
(1989)                   starts; stops; visual examination; repetition
Miksza (2006a)           Singing/whistling; air; varying tempo;
                         silent fingering/slide positioning; varying
                         pitch; varying dynamic; varying
                         articulation; buzzing; informal playing;
                         whole--part--whole; frustration;
                         self--guiding; repeat--measure/section/piece;
                         metronome; electronic tuner; marks part;

Miksza (2007)            Repeat measure; repeat section;
                         whole--part--whole; chaining; repeat
                         etude; slowing; varying pitch;
                         varying articulation; varying rhythm;
                         non-etude--related playing; singing/
                         whistling; use of metronome; marks
                         part; skipping directly to or just before
                         critical sections of the etude

Miksza (2011)            Repeat measure; repeat 2-4 m. chunk;
                         repeat 4-8 m. chunk; repeat slow or
                         fast section of the form; repeat etude;
                         whole--part--whole; chaining; slowing;
                         varying pitch; varying articulation;
                         varying the rhythm; non-etude--related
                         playing; singing/whistling/buzzing;
                         use of metronome

Nielsen (1999)           Time spent per measure; measures
                         worked on consecutively; segmentation;
                         tempo; uni--/bilateral play (hands/pedal);
                         change of rhythmical structure

Renwick &                Silent fingering; silent thinking; singing;
McPherson (2002)         run--through; repeat 1-2 notes; repeat
                         more than 2 notes; different tempo; time
                         per note

Rohwer (2005)            Elements of routine; corrective behaviors
                         (slowing, repetition); music selected for
                         practice; error detection; clapping;
                         metronome; foot tapping; analysis for
                         difficulty; singing

Rohwer &                 "Analytic" and "holistic" practicers
Polk (2006)              described; reactive and proactive
                         analytic practicers described; corrective
                         and noncorrective holistic practicers

Williamon &              Time spent; total days; number
Valentine (2000)         of sessions; number of sessions
                         per day; time per session; graphs of
                         starting and stopping points indicating

Williamon &              Segmentation analysis based on
Valentine                "structural" (e.g., 1st bar in a
(2002)                   subsection), "difficult" (e.g.,
                         pianist labeled it difficult), or "other"
                         (e.g., all remaining bars)'

Williamon,               Graphs of starting and stopping
Valentine, &             points indicating segments
(Study 1)

                                                Behaviors Related
                         Performance Task/      to Performance/
Author(s)                Material               Competence

Chaffin (2007)           Clair de Lune from     NS (b)
                         Debussy, Suite

Chaffin & Imreh (1997)   Presto from Bach,      NS
                         Italian Concerto

Chaffin &                Presto from Bach,      NS
Imreh (2002)             Italian Concerto

Chaffin, et al.          Presto from Bach,      NS
(2003)                   Italian Concerto

Chaffin, et al.          Bach, Cello            NS
(2009)                   Suite no. 6

Chaffin & Logan (2006)   Presto from Bach,      NS
                         Italian Concerto

Duke, Simmons,           3-m. passage           3 top--ranked piano
& Cash (2009)            from Shostakovich,     players were more
                         Concerto no. 1         likely to exhibit
                         for Piano, Trumpet,    the following:
                         and String             location and source
                         Orchestra, op. 35      of errors were
                                                rehearsed, and
                                                performance trials
                                                target practice was
                                                repeated until

Geringer &               Various                fixed. NS
Kostka (1984)

Ginsborg (2002)          Memorize a song:       Wider strategy use
                         "She's Somewhere in    among more
                         the Sunlight           proficient
                         Strong," a poem by     memorizers; More
                         Le Gallienne set to    proficient
                         music by Barab         memorizers more
                         (Boosey and Hawkes,    likely to count
                         1955)                  aloud while reading
                                                from the score.

Gruson (1988)            Performance task       Repeat section more
                         varied by level of     likely to be used by
                         competence             higher--level
                         (12 levels)            pianists

Hallam (1997a)           Prepare sight--        Those exhibiting and
                         reading for graded     reporting more
                         national examination   strategic practicing
                                                had higher
                                                achievement scores.

Hallam (2001a)           Prepare sight--        Differences found
                         reading for graded     between reported and
                         national examination   observed behaviors
                                                used. More
                                                experienced students
                                                tended to engage in
                                                slow practice and
                                                exhibit more
                                                evidence of

Hallam (2001b)           Prepare sight--        Strategy use related
                         reading for graded     to grade, age, and
                         national examination   overall performance

Killian &                Two sight--singing     Behaviors used more
Henry (2005)             melodies modeled       by high--accuracy
                         after Texas            singers than low--or
                         All--State             middle--accuracy
                         Choir materials        singers: tonicized;
                                                sang out loud;
                                                finished in 30 sec;
                                                isolated problems

Maynard (2006)           Various solo           NS

McPherson &              NS                     NS
Renwick (2001)

Miklaszewski             Debussy's Prelude      NS
(1989)                   from Feux d'Artifice
Miksza (2006a)           Perform a              Whole--part--whole;
                         researcher--adapted    repeat section;
                         etude from 26          marks part; varying
                         Studies for Flute,     pitch related to
                         op. 107 (Furstenau,    performance
                         1963)                  achievement

Miksza (2007)            Researcher--created    Repeat section;
                         etudes                 whole--part--whole;
                                                slowing; skipping
                                                directly to or just
                                                before critical
                                                musical sections of
                                                the etude related to

Miksza (2011)            Perform a              Repeat 2-4 m. chunk;
                         researcher--adapted    whole--part--whole;
                         etude (same as         slowing; chaining;
                         Miksza, 2006a)         use of metronome;
                                                varying pitch;
                                                singing, whistling,
                                                buzzing related to

Nielsen (1999)           Repertoire for a       NS

Renwick &                Various music class    NS
McPherson (2002)         repertoire

Rohwer (2005)            Various community      NS
                         band repertoire

Rohwer &                 24-m. etude no. 16,    Analytic practicers
Polk (2006)              Rusch                  significantly more
                                                effective over time

Williamon &              All Bach; assigned     Higher competence
Valentine (2000)         to subjects based      spent more time
                         on level of ability    practicing; those
                         (Polonaise,            playing larger
                         Inventions, Fugue)     sections had higher
                                                achievement scores

Williamon &              All Bach, assigned     Higher competence
Valentine                to subjects based on   were more likely to
(2002)                   level of ability       start and stop on
                         (Polonaise,            structural bars and
                         Inventions, Fugue)     less likely to start
                                                or stop on
                                                "difficult" bars
                                                over time;
                                                structural starts
                                                related to musical
                                                understanding and

Williamon,               All Bach, assigned     NS
Valentine, &             to subjects based on
Valentine                level of ability
(2002)                   (Polonaise,
(Study 1)                Inventions, Fugue)

(a) Same as Chaffin & Imreh, 1997
(b) Not specified
(c) Approximate time
(d) Same as Hallam, 1997a
(e) Same as Williamon & Valentine, 2000

Table 2
Experimental Investigations of Music Practice

Author(s)          Performer                   Treatment Conditions

Barry (1990)       N=57; brass and             (2) Structured
                   woodwind; grades 7-10       practice; free

Cahn (2008)        N=60; piano, guitar,        (4) Physical
                   strings, brass, woodwind;   practice; mental
                   undergraduates, had at      practice;
                   least 1 improvisation       2/3 physical,
                   course                      1/3 mental; 2/3
                                               mental, 1/3 physical

Cash (2009)        N=36; undergraduates,       (3) 5-min rest
                   less than 3 years formal    interval between
                   training, no musical        block 3 and 4; 5-min
                   activities last 5 years     rest interval between
                                               9 and 10; control/30
                                               second rests
                                               all times

Coffman (1990)     N=80; nonkeyboard           (8) Physical
                   players, undergraduates     practice; mental
                                               practice; physical/
                                               mental practice
                                               combined; control;
                                               also-each condition
                                               crossed with
                                               "knowledge of

Duke &             N=49; nonmusic              (5) Various
Davis (2006)       majors (less than 3 yrs     combinations of
                   formal music)               learning 2 sequences
                                               of key presses with
                                               various amounts of
                                               time between retests

Fortney (1992)     N=40; band students;        (4) Modeling; silent
                   grade 6                     analysis; free
                                               practice; control

Henley (2001)      N=60; brass and             (6) Model or no model
                   woodwind; high              crossed with three
                   school age                  tempo patterns:
                                               steady increase,
                                               performance speed,
                                               and alternating tempo

Hewitt (2001)      N=82; brass, woodwind,      (8) All possible
                   percussion; grades 7-9      combinations of
                                               model, self--
                                               listening, and

Highben &          N=16; piano; adults         (4) Normal practice
Palmer (2004)                                  (fingering); motor
                                               only (fingering no
                                               sound); auditory only
                                               (no fingering but
                                               sound); covert (no
                                               fingering, no sound)

Lim &              N=7; piano;                 (3) Mental practice;
Lippman            undergraduates              mental practice with
(1991)                                         listening; physical
                                               practice (within--
                                               subjects design)

Linklater          7V=142; clarinet;           (3) Visual and aural
(1997)             grades 5 and 6              model with
                                               accompaniment; aural
                                               model with
                                               accompaniment only

Madsen &           7V=48; undergraduates       (2) Distraction index
Geringer (1981)                                group and control

Miksza (2005)      N=20; trombone;             (4) Physical
                   high school                 practice; 3 versions
                                               of physical practice
                                               and mental practice
                                               combined (goal,
                                               production, current)

Pacey (1993)       N=47; strings;              Time--series design:
                   ages 8-12                   3 groups received
                                               varied practice at
                                               different points in

Puopolo (1971)     N=52; trumpet;              (2) Tape--recorded
                   grade 5                     programmed
                                               instruction; control

Rosenthal (1984)   N=44; brass and wood        (4) Guided model;
                   wind; undergraduate         model only; guide
                   and graduate                only; practice only/

Rosenthal,         N=60; brass and             (5) Modeling;
et al. (1988)      woodwind;                   singing; silent
                   undergraduate and           analysis; free
                   graduate                    practice; control

Ross (1985)        N=30; trombone;             (5) Physical
                   undergraduate and           practice; mental
                   graduate                    practice; mental
                                               practice with slide
                                               movement; mental and
                                               physical practice
                                               combined; no practice

Simmons &          N=75; nonkeyboard           (2) Sleep; no sleep
Duke (2006)        music majors, 4
                   semesters group piano

Theiler &          N=14; 7 guitar, 7 voice;    (4) Physical
Lippman (1995)     undergraduates              practice; mental
                                               practice; mental
                                               practice with model;

VanderArk &        N=80; brass, woodwind,      (4) Physical
Murphy (1998)      percussion; grade 5         practice; mental
                                               practice; mental and
                                               physical practice
                                               combined; mental and
                                               physical and singing
                                               practice with
                                               physical stimulation

Wagner (1975)      N=48; undergraduates        (4) Weekly practice
                                               report; practice
                                               reports 4 out of
                                               8 wks; practice
                                               reports 2 out of
                                               8 wks; no reports

Welch (1985)       N=66; singers; ages 7-8     (6) 2 stimulus
                                               conditions (low and
                                               high variability)
                                               crossed with
                                               knowledge of results,
                                               visual reinforcement,
                                               knowledge of result,
                                               and visual

Wolfe (1987)       N=3; piano; ages 9-10       Single--subject,
                                               multiple baseline
                                               design, behavioral

Zurcher (1975)     N=43; brass; grades 4-6     (2) Model; no--model

                                               Criteria (Reliability
Author(s)          Treatment Length            coefficient)

Barry (1990)       4 practice sessions,        Rhythmic accuracy,
                   45 min total                melodic accuracy,
                                               musicality (.76-.99)

Cahn (2008)        1 session, 3 min            Note errors
                                               (deviations from
                                               chord progression)

Cash (2009)        12, 30-sec practice         Number of correct key
                   blocks alternating          presses in 30-sec
                   with 30-sec rest            blocks
                   blocks for training

Coffman (1990)     6 practice trials,          Pitch errors (.86),
                   30 sec each                 rhythm errors (.95)

Duke &             12, 30-sec practice         Correct key--presses
Davis (2006)       blocks alternating          per 30-sec block
                   with 30-sec rest
                   blocks for training

Fortney (1992)     1 session, 2 min            Pitch errors, rhythm
                                               errors, articulation
                                               errors (.98)

Henley (2001)      1 session, no               Pitch errors (.86),
                   time specified              rhythm errors (.84)

Hewitt (2001)      5-wk treatment              Woodwind brass solo
                   period, subject             evaluation form
                   practicing done             (Saunders & Holohan,
                   outside of school           1997)

Highben &          Practice consisted          Aural imagery--wing
Palmer (2004)      of 10 trials of the         test of aural skills,
                   etude                       motor imagery--
                                               adaptation of infant
                                               measure-7 pictures of
                                               right--hand movement

Lim &              1 session, 10 min           Note accuracy (.79),
Lippman            total, 8 trials (pre--      rhythmic accuracy
(1991)             test, 6 practice,           (.71), phrasing/
                   post--test)                 articulation (.58),
                                               expression (.55)

Linklater          8-wk treatment              Visual criteria
(1997)             period, subject             (embouchure, hand
                   practicing done             position, instrument
                   outside of school           position, posture);
                                               aural criteria
                                               (tone quality/
                                               rhythmic accuracy,
                                               melodic accuracy)

Madsen &           8-wk treatment              Musicianship (.95)
Geringer (1981)    period, subjects
                   practice on their

Miksza (2005)      3 sessions, 40.5            Objective (notes,
                   min total                   rhythms, dynamics,
                                               musical effect, tone/

Pacey (1993)       Several weeks               Differentiation
                                               between forte and

Puopolo (1971)     10-wk treatment             Watkins Farnum
                   period, 20-25 min           Performance Scale
                   per day (approx.
                   200-250 min)

Rosenthal (1984)   1 session, 6.5-min          Notes, rhythms,
                   treatment, 3-min            tempo, dynamics,
                   practice                    phrasing/

Rosenthal,         1 session, 3-min            Notes (.96), rhythms
et al. (1988)      practice                    (.91), phrasing/
                                               dynamics (.84),
                                               articulation (.93),

Ross (1985)        3 trials                    Pitches, rhythms,
                                               articulations (.98)

Simmons &          12, 30-sec practice         Note accuracy, speed,
Duke (2006)        blocks alternating          temporal evenness,
                   with 30-sec rest            dynamic evenness
                   blocks for training,
                   staggered times of
                   day for retest

Theiler &          1 session, 12-min           Pitch accuracy,
Lippman (1995)     practice                    rhythmic accuracy,
                                               phrasing, dynamics/
                                               expression, tempo,
                                               tone quality

VanderArk &        30-min session              Rhythm, pitch, and
Murphy (1998)      (pre--test, practice,       articulation accuracy
                   post--test)                 (.95)

Wagner (1975)      8-wk treatment              "Music Performance"
                   period, subjects            (.94)
                   practice on their

Welch (1985)       40 learning trials,         Pitch errors
                   one session

Wolfe (1987)       3 wks (staggered            Average practice
                   across participants)        minutes per week

Zurcher (1975)     7-wk treatment              Pitch discrimination
                   period, subjects            (.99), tempo
                   practice on their own       stability (.99),
                                               pitch matching (.99),
                                               errors (.98), rhythm
                                               errors (.99)

Author(s)          Performance Task

Barry (1990)       Perform an experimental etude,
                   Haydn's Little Dance in F

Cahn (2008)        Play melodic patterns 3-1-7-5 over
                   a 16--bar chord progression from
                   mm. 17-32 of All the Things You
                   Are (Kernan, 1988) and a 16--bar chord
                   progression from mm. 17-32
                   of Lines for Lyons (Mulligan, 1988)

Cash (2009)        5--element keyboard sequence 25342

Coffman (1990)     Perform a researcher--constructed,
                   computer--administered keyboard

Duke &             2 sequential key press sequences
Davis (2006)

Fortney (1992)     Perform an etude, "Study no. 10,"
                   from 24 Arban--Klose--Concone
                   Studies for Band Instruments, arr.
                   Rusch (1955)

Henley (2001)      Perform an etude, "Norwegian
                   Dance," from Essential Technique
                   Band Method Rhodes, et al. (1993)

Hewitt (2001)      Researcher constructed
                   "Performance Etude"

Highben &          4 researcher--constructed etudes
Palmer (2004)      (one for each condition) in early
                   baroque style, 2 mm. long

Lim &              Selected excerpts of obscure piano
Lippman            repertoire from Weiner, Faure,
(1991)             Haydn, Schumann, Valenti, and

Linklater          Four etudes chosen: "Twinkle,
(1997)             Twinkle," "Jolly Old St. Nick," 2
                   designed by the researcher

Madsen &           Varied by subject
Geringer (1981)

Miksza (2005)      3 researcher--adapted etudes from
                   Watkins Farnum Performance
                   Scale (1954)

Pacey (1993)       Etude, Lightly Row

Puopolo (1971)     Weekly band assignments

Rosenthal (1984)   Performance etude, "Etude no. 22,"
                   from 60 Selected Studies for French
                   Horn, Bk.1 (Kopprasch, 1939)

Rosenthal,         Performance etude, "Etude no. 96,"
et al. (1988)      from Rhythmical Articulation,
                   (Bona, 1969)

Ross (1985)        Performance etude, "Etude No. 24,"
                   from The School of Sight Reading
                   and Style, Book A (Lafosse, 1949)

Simmons &          Researcher--constructed 12--note
Duke (2006)        keyboard melody

Theiler &          Selected excerpts from a sight--singing
Lippman (1995)     method

VanderArk &        16-m. researcher--created etude
Murphy (1998)

Wagner (1975)      Varied by subject

Welch (1985)       Prescribed pitch sequences

Wolfe (1987)       Varied by subject

Zurcher (1975)     Varied by subject

Table 3
Music Practice Studies Incorporating Quantitative
Measurements of Motivational Constructs

Author(s)        Performer                   Measure Used

Ciabattari       N=852; high school          Researcher--constructed
(2004)           musicians. N=19 Directors   questionnaires:
                                             motivating students to
                                             practice (directors)
                                             motivation to practice

Hamman, et al.   N=711; Brass, woodwind,     Researcher--constructed
(1998)           percussion, string,         practice questionnaire
                 vocals; undergraduate and
                 graduate music majors

Harnischmacher   N=142; woodwind;            Self--concept of
(1997)           ages 6-17                   instrumental abilities;
                                             Goal Orientation of
                                             Practice (GOP);
                                             External Action
                                             Distraction (EAD);
                                             Action Orientation
                                             After Failure (AOF);
                                             Action Orientation in
                                             Planning (AOP); Action
                                             Orientation in Centered
                                             Activity (AOC)

McCormick &      N=332; brass, woodwind,     Adaptation of
McPherson        string, piano; ages 9-18    Motivation and Self--
(2003)                                       Regulatory Learning
                                             (Pintrich & DeGroot,

McPherson &      N=190; pianists; ages       Adaptation of
McCormick        9-18                        Motivation and
(1999)                                       Self--Regulatory
                                             Learning Questionnaire
                                             (Pintrich & DeGroot,

McPherson &      N=349; brass, woodwind,     Adaptation of
McCormick        string, piano; ages 9-18    Motivation and
(2000)                                       Self--Regulatory
                                             Learning Questionnaire
                                             (Pintrich & DeGroot,

McPherson &      N=686; piano, strings,      Researcher--created
McCormick        brass, woodwind; ages       self--efficacy scale
(2006)           9-19                        (based on Bandura)

Miksza (2005)    N=20; trombonists;          Nowicki--Duke Locus of
                 high school                 Control Scale for
                                             College and Non--
                                             College Adults (1973)

Miksza (2006a)   N=40; brass;                Nowicki--Duke Locus of
                 undergraduate and           Control Scale for
                 graduate music majors       College and Non--
                                             College Adults (1973)

Miksza (2006b)   N=175; brass, woodwind,     Adaptation of
                 percussion; grades 6-8      Motivation and
                                             Learning Questionnaire
                                             (Pintrich & DeGroot,

Miksza (2009a)   N=60; brass and woodwind;   Researcher--adaptation
                 high school                 of Elliot & McGregor
                                             (2001) 2x2
                                             Achievement Goal

Miksza (2009b)   N=228; brass, woodwind,     Researcher--adaptation
                 and percussion; high        of Elliot & McGregor
                 school age                  (2001) 2x2 Achievement
                                             Goal Questionnaire

Miksza (2011)    N=55; brass and woodwind;   Researcher--adaptation
                 undergraduate and           of Elliot & McGregor
                 graduate music majors       (2001) 2x2 Achievement
                                             Goal Questionnaire

Nielsen (2004)   N=130; college music        Adaptation of
                 majors                      Motivation and
                                             Learning Questionnaire
                                             (Pintrich & DeGroot,

O'Neill (1999)   N=60; 20 high and           Researcher--created
                 average achievers at        self--perception of
                 specialist school, 20       competence;
                 musically active at         researcher--created
                 regular school              subjective task value

Schmidt (2005)   N=300; brass, woodwind,     Researcher--adaptation
                 percussion; grades 7-12     of scales used by
                                             Marsh, Craven,
                                             Hinkley, & Debus (2003)

Schmidt (2007)   N=456; brass, woodwind,     Researcher--adaptation
                 percussion; grades 9-12     of subscales relevant
                                             to intrinsic motivation
                                             from Schmidt (2005);
                                             Smith (2005); Marsh,
                                             Craven, Hinkley, &
                                             Debus (2003); Guzzo,
                                             Yost, Campbell, &
                                             Shea (1993)

Smith (2005)     N=344; brass, woodwind,     Researcher--adaptation
                 percussion, strings;        of Patterns of Adaptive
                 undergraduate music         Learning Survey
                 majors                      (Midgley et al, 1997),
                                             Theory of Intelligence
                                             Scale: Self Form for
                                             Adults (Dweck, 1999)

                 Construct(s) (Reliability
Author(s)        coefficients)               Relation to Practice

Ciabattari       Eclectic set of items:      Playing challenging
(2004)           challenge, effort,          music was rated as the
                 incentives, teacher         most effective
                 feedback, peer              motivator by both
                 involvement, competition,   students and directors.
                 model, parental             Both agreed that effort
                 involvement                 should be emphasized,
                                             and that modeling and
                                             practice strategy

Hamman, et al.   Pos factor analysis:        instruction were
(1998)           Internal satisfaction:      important. Satisfying
                 5 items Practice and        internal needs most
                 conflicts: 7 items          highly endorsed of all
                 Practice organization:      items. Suggests that
                 4 items Physical/mental     avoiding conflicts and
                 limitations: 3 items        organizationof practice
                 Practice stamina: 1 item    time are also important
                 External influences:        issues.
                 2 items
                 (Total Scale = .96)

Harnischmacher   Self--concept:              Various motivation
(1997)           12 items (.86)              subscales (i.e., EAD,
                 GOP: 10 items (.76)         GOP, AOC, SCI) related
                 EAD: 9 items (.71)          to self--reported
                 AOF (.81)                   practice behaviors
                 AOP (.70)                   (i.e., playing familiar
                 AOC (.71)                   pieces, scales,
                                             new pieces, warming up,
                                             metronome, raising
                                             tempo, error
                                             improvisation, dividing
                                             in sections), goal and
                                             action orientations
                                             correlated with
                                             practice time,
                                             negatively correlated
                                             with practice time.

McCormick &      Intrinsic value: 2 items    Self--efficacy best
McPherson        Self--efficacy: 3 items     predictor of
(2003)                                       performance
                                             achievement, moderate
                                             relationships with
                                             self--report measures
                                             of formal and informal
                                             practice. No relations
                                             found for intrinsic

McPherson &      Postfactor analysis         Intrinsic value found
McCormick        Intrinsic value: 2 items    to be a predictor of
(1999)                                       "creative practice
                                             activity," repertoire
                                             playing, and technical

McPherson &      Postfactor analysis:        Internal attributions
McCormick        Intrinsic value: 2 items    for success received
(2000)           Self--efficacy: 3 items     highest ratings (e.g.,
                 Attributions for success    practice, trying,
                 and failure: 5 items        ability). Self--
                                             efficacy and intrinsic
                                             value found to be
                                             predictors of
                                             performance achievement
                                             for beginning and
                                             intermediate players
                                             but not advanced.

McPherson &      Self--efficacy: 4 items     Self--efficacy best
McCormick                                    predictor of
(2006)                                       performance
                                             achievement, related to
                                             formal practice and
                                             practice regulation
                                             as well.

Miksza (2005)    Locus of control:           Although
                 internal external           nonsignificant, a trend
                 (general trait) (.68-.71)   found between internal
                                             locus of control and
                                             performance achievement

Miksza (2006a)   Locus of control:           No relations
                 internal external
                 (general trait) (.81)

Miksza (2006b)   Postfactor analysis:        Intrinsic factors
                 Intrinsic--goal: 6 items    related to reports of
                 (.77) Intrinsic--           time spent practicing,
                 challenge: 3 items (.74)    and percentages of time
                 Commitment to improve:      spent on formal
                 2 items (.75)               practice as well as
                                             overall efficiency
                                             ratings of practice.

Miksza (2009a)   Mastery--approach (.91)     Mastery--approach
                 Mastery--avoid (.83)        related to performance
                 Performance--approach       achievement.
                 (.92) Performance--avoid    Mastery--approach
                 (.90) All scales 10 items   related to skipping
                                             directly to or before a
                                             critical section of the
                                             etude behaviors.

Miksza (2009b)   Mastery--approach (.76)     Correlations between
                 Mastery--avoid (.75)        various subscales and
                 Performance--approach       self--reports of length
                 (.82) Performance--avoid    of average practice
                 (.69) All scales 3 items    session, average number
                                             of practice sessions
                                             per day, percentage of
                                             time spent on formal
                                             practice, and average
                                             daily practice

Miksza (2011)    Mastery--approach           Performance--approach
                 motivation (.75)            and--avoid negatively
                 Mastery--avoid motivation   related to chaining
                 (.76) Performance--         behaviors.
                 approach motivation (.88)
                 motivation (.88) All
                 scales 10 items

Nielsen (2004)   Self--efficacy:             Students with greater
                 8 items (.81)               sense of self--efficacy
                                             more likely to use
                                             cognitive strategies.
                                             Sex differences found
                                             on self--efficacy among
                                             performance and church
                                             music majors but not
                                             music ed majors.

O'Neill (1999)   Self--perception of         No differences between
                 competence: 4 items         three groups on
                 Subjective task value:      competence or task
                 2 items                     value scales.
                                             Self--perceptions of
                                             competence significant
                                             predictor of
                                             practice time.

Schmidt (2005)   Mastery (.88)               Mastery, intrinsic,
                 Intrinsic (.88)             individual, cooperative
                 Individual (.82)            orientations each found
                 Cooperative (.83)           to be positively
                 Ego (.88)                   related to reported
                 Competitive (.89)           practice time.
                 Approach--success (.80)
                 Avoid--failure (.84)
                 Scales above had 6 items
                 each Self--concept:
                 4 items (.85)

Schmidt (2007)   Group efficacy: 10 items    All motivation scales
                 (.87) Self--efficacy:       positively related to
                 10 items (.92)              self--reported practice
                 Intrinsic--mastery:         time.
                 12 items (.92)
                 Cooperative: 10 items
                 (.88) Commitment to band:
                 11 items (.95) Implicit
                 theory (entity/
                 8 items (.86)

Smith (2005)     Ego--approach goals:        Task goals positively
                 6 items (.84) Ego--avoid    related to most
                 goals: 6 items (.79)        self--report practice
                 Task goals: 5 items (.74)   strategies while
                 Implicit theory (entity/    results are more mixed
                 incremental):               for ego goals.
                 8 items (.89)

Table 4
Studies Incorporating Quantitative Measures of Self-Regulatory
Music Practice Behaviors

                 Performer              Measure

Austin & Berg    N=224; brass,          Researcher-created Music
(2006)           woodwind,              Practice Inventory; also
                 percussion, strings;   adaptations from Motivation
                 ages 11-12             and Self-Regulatory Learning
                                        Questionnaire (Pintrich &
                                        DeGroot, 1990) and Learning
                                        and Study Strategies
                                        Inventory (Weinstein &
                                        Palmer, 2002)

McCormick &      N=332; brass,          Adaptation of Motivation and
McPherson        woodwind, string,      Self-Regulatory Learning
(2003)           piano; ages 9-18       Questionnaire (Pintrich &
                                        DeGroot, 1990)

McPherson &      N=190; pianists;       Adaptation of Motivation and
McCormick        ages 9-18              Self-Regulatory Learning
(1999)                                  Questionnaire (Pintrich &
                                        DeGroot, 1990),
                                        17 items total

McPherson &      N=349; brass,          Adaptation of Motivation and
McCormick        woodwind, string,      Self-Regulatory Learning
(2000)           piano; ages 9-18       Questionnaire (Pintrich &
                                        DeGroot, 1990)

McPherson &      N=686; piano,          Researcher-adaptation of
McCormick        strings, brass,        previously used measures
(2006)           woodwind; ages 9-19    (McCormick & McPherson,

Miksza (2006b)   N=175; brass,          Adaptation of Motivation and
                 woodwind,              Self-Regulatory Learning
                 percussion;            Questionnaire (Pintrich &
                 grades 6-8             DeGroot, 1990)

Nielsen (2004)   N=130; college music   Adaptation of Motivation and
                 majors                 Self-Regulatory Learning
                                        Questionnaire (Pintrich &
                                        DeGroot, 1990), 50 items

                 Constructs Measured, Number of Subscale Items
                 (Reliability coefficients)

Austin & Berg    Prefactor analysis
(2006)           Practice motivation: 10 items (effort,
                 interest, affect, parental support, challenge
                 seeking) Practice regulation: 26 items
                 (preparation, goal setting, use of resources,
                 structuring practice sessions, teacher guidance)
                 Postfactor analysis
                 Practice motivation: 4 items (.79)
                 Practice regulation: 10 items (.87)

McCormick &      Postfactor analysis
McPherson        Cognitive strategy use: 5 items
(2003)           Self-Regulation: 4 items
                 Intrinsic value: 2 items
                 Anxiety: 2 items
                 Self-Efficacy: 3 items
                 Formal Practice: 4 items
                 Informal Practice: 2 items

McPherson &      Postfactor analysis
McCormick        Cognitive strategy use, self-regulation,
(1999)           intrinsic value, anxiety

McPherson &      Postfactor analysis
McCormick        Cognitive strategy use: 5 items
(2000)           Self-regulation: 4 items
                 Intrinsic value: 2 items
                 Anxiety: 3 items
                 Self-efficacy: 3 items
                 Attributions for success and failure: 5 items

McPherson &      Practice regulation: 7 items
McCormick        Cognitive strategy: 12 items

Miksza (2006b)   Prefactor analysis
                 Self-regulation: 7 items (.83)
                 Intrinsic motivation: 9 items (.87)
                 Concentration: 7 items (.73)
                 Attribution for success and failure in music
                 practice: 8 items (.58)
                 Postfactor analysis
                 Concentration: 6 items (.84)
                 Intrinsic-goal motivation: 6 items (.77)
                 Intrinsic-challenge motivation: 3 items (.74)
                 Metacognition/reflective strategies: 5 items (.76)
                 Commitment to improve: 2 items (.75)

Nielsen (2004)   No Factor Analysis
                 Rehearsal (.73)
                 Elaboration (.69)
                 Organization (.69)
                 Critical thinking (.71)
                 Metacognition (.67)
                 Time and study environment (.59)
                 Effort regulation (.60)
                 Peer learning (.56)
                 Help seeking (.58)
                 Self-efficacy: 8 items (.81)

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A337816294