Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Motivational forces that influence the career aspirations of undergraduate music majors
    TONG, EUDORA ( 2011)
    Every year, cohorts of music students enter music conservatories aspiring to progress their musical development to a level where they can succeed within the challenging profession of performing music. The reality is however, that only a handful actually succeed to being able to perform or compose professionally as their chosen career. Rarely have studies examined the career aspirations of musicians and much less how social and psychological influences impact on the career aspirations of music students. The purpose of this study is to identify the range of motivational forces as defined in Self-Determination Theory that influence the career aspirations of undergraduate music majors, as well as to investigate relationships between students’ aspirations and basic needs, on selected career development factors. Self-Determination Theory's framework of psychological needs and continuum of depth of intrinsic motivation consequently conveys an understanding of how a behaviour is developed, sustained, and satisfies needs. This theory was deemed as a suitable theoretical framework from which to examine how intending professional musicians define and explain their career aspirations. Findings suggest that the motivational aspirations of music undergraduates at the University of Melbourne ranged across the Self-Determination Theory dimensions from intrinsic motivation, integrated regulation, to identified regulation. These show that these students derived some enjoyment and pleasure from their musical involvement, with music satisfying their psychological needs, through a musical education that feeds their drive to become accomplished musicians. Parents, teachers, and peers were all reported by the students as influential in shaping their musical motivations. Discussion of these findings demonstrates how the students themselves personally reacted to the (external) influence of these significant others. Self-Determination Theory was found to be a useful tool in understanding career aspirations in music albeit partially, as there are other aspects within an individual’s behaviour that remain elusive and require further study. Findings from the study also suggest that the actual motives for one’s musical pursuit were even more extensive to those of which Self-Determination Theory encompasses.