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Musical engagement and identity: exploring young adults’ experiences, tastes, and beliefs
Music Education Research  (IF1),  Pub Date : 2021-07-01, DOI: 10.1080/14613808.2021.1949272
Robert H. Woody, Xinwei Liu, Brittany Rom, Brianna Smith, Jennifer Wassemiller


Our study explored how adolescents’ experiences and musical preferences might relate to musical identity, and the likelihood of engaging in musical activities as adults. Participants were 170 first-year university students, both music majors and non-music majors. A questionnaire collected participants’ responses regarding beliefs about music, as well as self-reported ratings of musicality and the likelihood of engaging in musical activities. Results indicated that music majors, compared to non-majors, had significantly more school music experience, higher self-ratings of musicality, and greater likelihood of engaging in musical activity. Among all participants, there was a correlation between preference for certain musical genres and appraisal of the genres’ quality (e.g. they thought that the music they like is good). Among non-music majors, school music experience was a good predictor of musicality self-rating, but at least six years of school music experience was needed for participants to consider themselves musical. The results of the study have implications for educators wishing to stave off student disengagement from music participation.