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Music ensemble participation, academic achievement and academic self concept: A longitudinal study of adolescents

Hardie, D., Davis, H. and Barber, B.L. (2007) Music ensemble participation, academic achievement and academic self concept: A longitudinal study of adolescents. In: 40th Anniversary Australian Society for Music Education (ASME) National Conference, 6-8 July 2007, Nedlands, Perth, Western Australia pp. 106-110.


In this paper, we investigate longitudinally the association between participation in a musical ensemble in secondary school, academic performance and academic self concept to test whether more able students are more likely to participate in musical ensembles and whether participation confers any academic advantages. Longitudinal data on extracurricular activity participation, school grades, academic self concept and general intellectual aptitude were drawn from 1257 adolescents in the Michigan Study of Adolescent Life Transitions. School results at Grade 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of participants in school band or orchestra in Grade 10 were compared to participants in school sports clubs and to students who took part in no extracurricular activities. Ensemble players did not differ from any of the other groups at any time point except for Grade 9, where they showed a significantly smaller decline in performance than students participating in no extracurricular activities, but no differences from participants in other activities. Ensemble players and participants in other activities did, however, self-rate their academic abilities significantly more positively in Grades 6 and 7 than non-participants, irrespective of their actual ability. Positive self concept in primary school appears to be predictive of participation in extracurricular activities in secondary school, but there was no compelling evidence of ensemble participation or extracurricular activity more generally having positive effects on academic performance or academic self concept for this age group, once gender and general ability were controlled.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Australian Society for Music Education
Copyright: The Authors
Conference Website:
Notes: Published in "Celebrating Musical Communities: Proceedings of the 40th Anniversary National Conference, Perth 6th-8th July 2007. Editor Andrea Stanberg"
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