The development of practising strategies in young people

Susan Hallam, Tiija Rinta, Maria Varvarigou, Andrea Creech, Ioulia Papageorgi, Teresa Gomes, Jennifer Lanipekun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been considerable research considering how instrumental practice changes as expertise develops. Much of that research has been relatively small scale and restricted in the range of instrumentalists included. This paper aimed to explore the development of practising strategies and motivation to practise as expertise develops with a large sample of participants at different levels of expertise playing a wide range of different instruments. A total of 3,325 young people ranging in level of expertise from beginner to the level required for entry to higher education conservatoires completed a questionnaire which consisted of a number of statements relating to practising strategies, organization of practice, and motivation to practise with a seven-point rating scale. Data were analyzed in relation to nine levels of expertise. Factor analysis revealed seven factors: adoption of systematic practice strategies; organization of practice; use of recordings for listening and feedback and use of the metronome; use of analytic strategies; adoption of ineffective strategies; concentration; and immediate correction of errors. There were statistically significant linear relationships between grade level and four of the factors but not for organization of practice; use of analytic strategies; and concentration. The findings are discussed in relation to the educational implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-680
Number of pages29
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • concentration
  • development
  • expertise
  • motivation
  • practice


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