A critical investigation of self-determination theory in the context of a music conservatoire : basic needs satisfaction, autonomy support, and motivation of BMus and MMus Performance students
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This thesis applies and critically examines Self-Determination Theory’s concepts of basic need satisfaction, autonomy support and motivational types in the context of a major UK music conservatoire. The study is a mixed methods study with an explanatory, concurrent and independent design. The quantitative analysis involved a survey questionnaire, the qualitative analysis involved repertory grid interviews and follow-up interviews. Results of the quantitative analysis show overall medium basic need satisfaction, high autonomy support and high self-determined forms of motivation. There are no significant differences between departments, undergraduate and postgraduate students and between male and female students. Whilst the case study findings support the results with regard to basic needs satisfaction, in six of the nine case studies, aspects of performance environments emerged which are not autonomy supportive and led students to experience introjected avoidance motivation in the form of fear of failure and not living up to the perceived expectations of important others. This is particularly the case in performance classes, assessment situations and auditions. The discrepancy between findings on the domain and situation levels question SDT’s top-down model of motivation. The qualitative case studies suggest that this institution’s concept of a proto-professional environment might in some instances contribute to the creation of ego-involving climates. Finally, SDT’s teleological outlook with its emphasis on self-actualization, reflected in the conservatoire’s drive for excellence, might itself be a source of stress. In the case studies this is evident in participants’ experience of pressure with regard to achieving integrated motivation. SDT’s newer strand of Integrative Emotion Regulation (IER) and a pedagogical framework based on Acceptance and Commitment Coaching (ACC) are introduced as noteworthy recent developments which might go some way in alleviating the pressures experienced at music conservatoires by students and staff alike.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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