Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Music Education

Major Professor

C. Victor Fung, Ph.D.


Music education, Motivation, Musical practice, Self-regulation, Social context


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among undergraduate applied music students' perceptions of autonomy support, competence, and task persistence. One assumption of self-determination theory was that competence would increase when social environment supported self-organization. A motivational-cognitive framework designed to promote sustained motivation in undergraduate applied music students was proposed. Three self-report scales administered in the form of a web survey were completed by undergraduate applied music students (N = 366) at six Florida universities. The scales were designed to measure perceived autonomy support, perceived competence, and perceived persistence in practice in the applied music studio setting.

Internal consistency reliability estimates as measured by Cronbach's alpha were high for all three measures: perceived competence (alpha = .89), perceived autonomy support (alpha = 92), and perceived task persistence of musical practice (alpha = .87). All three constructs-perceived competence, perceived autonomy support, and perceived task persistence showed a significant positive correlation with each other. The use of perceived competence as a mediating variable in a hypothesized path model helps to illuminate the nature of the relationships among the three constructs. In the path analysis model, perceived autonomy support was found to have a significant direct effect on perceived task persistence. Thus, students who perceived that they had strong autonomy support in the applied studio setting were more likely to perceive themselves as more highly task persistent than students who perceived that they had less autonomy support.

Also, in the path model, student perceived competence was found to moderately mediate the effect of their perceived autonomy support on perceived task persistence. Thus, in the investigation of the relationship between perceived autonomy support and task persistence, the path analysis also revealed that something in addition to perceived autonomy support, namely perceived competence, served to explain the relationship between perceptions of autonomy support and task persistence. It is hoped that this study may promote further understanding of the optimal conditions in higher education for the persistence of practice for applied music study.