Singing Ability, Musical Self-Concept, and Future Music Participation

Steven M. Demorest*, Jamey Kelley, Peter Q. Pfordresher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Research on adults who identify as "tone deaf" suggest that their poor musical self-concept is shaped by a view of themselves as nonsingers even when their perceptual skills and singing ability are not significantly worse than the general population. Many of these adults self-selected out of further participation as children but expressed regret as adults for lost opportunities. The purpose of this investigation was to explore the role of musical self-concept, attitude, and related variables in predicting students' decisions to participate in elective music instruction in junior high and whether those same variables were related to their assessed singing ability. Findings suggest that family music participation and positive attitudes toward music, particularly their view of themselves as musicians, can predict with 74% accuracy which students choose to continue in elective music. Musical self-concept was also a unique predictor of singing accuracy performance, suggesting a connection between students' actual singing ability and their view of themselves as musicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-420
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2016


  • development
  • family background
  • music participation
  • self-concept
  • singing accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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