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  • Thumbnail for Choice, engagement, and reflective practices in the music classroom : the realization of independent musicianship
    Choice, engagement, and reflective practices in the music classroom : the realization of independent musicianship by Weidmann, Lindsay

    If students are given the opportunity to explore their own musical interests using a variety of learning strategies, how will it affect their overall self-efficacy and engagement in their own musical development? This question is explored through a learning unit created for 8th grade general music classes where the students experienced varying levels of choice in their musical learning. Students wrote reflections before, after, and during the unit. These reflective journals were the main source of data collection. Pre-unit reflective surveys focused on musical interests, past learning experiences both in and out of school, current musical goals, and current learning preferences. The unit’s central activities were for students to learn three different songs using a variety of learning methods and then write evaluative and reflective responses after each song performance. Post-unit reflective surveys focused on any changes in students’ motivation, confidence, cognitive engagement (evaluation), and emotional engagement (‘feeling’ statements). All surveys and reflective journals included qualitative data and quantitative data. Results show if students are given the opportunity to learn what they want while utilizing learning methods they prefer, it will not only engage them emotionally and cognitively but will also contribute positively to their overall self-efficacy in the music classroom. Overwhelmingly, students claimed the unit increased their overall motivation and confidence in learning to play music and cited their own cognitive engagement and emotional engagement as their reasons why. Other questions, observations, and implications raised by the study are also discussed.