Perceptions and predictions of expertise in advanced musical learners

Ioulia Papageorgi, Andrea Creech, Elizabeth Haddon, Frances Morton, Christophe De Bezenac, Evangelos Himonides, John Potter, Celia Duffy, Tony Whyton, Graham Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this article was to compare musicians' views on (a) the importance of musical skills and (b) the nature of expertise. Data were obtained from a specially devised web-based questionnaire completed by advanced musicians representing four musical genres (classical, popular, jazz, Scottish traditional) and varying degrees of professional musical experience (tertiary education music students, portfolio career musicians). Comparisons were made across musical genres (classical vs. other-than-classical), gender, age and professional status (student musicians vs. portfolio career musicians). Musicians' 'ideal' versus 'perceived' levels of musical skills and expertise were also compared and factors predicting musicians' self-reported level of skills and expertise were investigated. Findings suggest that the perception of expertise in advanced musical learners is a complex phenomenon that relates to each of four key variables (gender, age, musical genre and professional experience). The study also shows that discrepancies between advanced musicians' ideal and self-assessed levels of musical skills and expertise are closely related to gender and professional experience. Finally, characteristics that predict and account for variability in musicians' views and attitudes regarding musical expertise and self-assessments of personal expertise levels are highlighted. Results are viewed in the context of music learning and implications for music education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-66
Number of pages36
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Expertise development
  • Gender
  • Musical genre
  • Musical performance
  • Skill acquisition

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    Papageorgi, I., Creech, A., Haddon, E., Morton, F., De Bezenac, C., Himonides, E., Potter, J., Duffy, C., Whyton, T., & Welch, G. (2010). Perceptions and predictions of expertise in advanced musical learners. Psychology of Music, 38(1), 31-66.