Practice between pleasure and frustration – an empirical verification of the volitional transfer support in the context of music studies

Jörg Maria Ortwein


Central characteristics of academic success of students of music are discipline, motivation, and concentration. Intentional action and volitional control strategies support the enhancement of motivation and performance. Research on learning strategies, implementation intentions and failure experience focuses on academic teaching and learning contexts by now. The four-phase Volitional Design Model (VDM) (Deimann, 2007) as an integrated support framework would bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practice-oriented solutions. It aims at promoting the core skills of emotion, motivation and cognition. Profiles of individual strengths and weaknesses are detected by the Volitional Transfer Support (VTU) and volitional deficits should be balanced with it. The central tool of the VTU is the Volitional Person Test (VPT). The concept of the VTU can principally be applied to all learning and developmental contexts. Previously, however, it has been used primarily in the context of distance education and vocational training.

The present article shows the results of an exploratory investigation of the relevance of the VPT concept in music studies. A qualitative study investigated whether this concept can be applied to the VPT with music students. This article also shows an empirical review on how practical volitional principles approaches are made​​. Ten music students with different major instruments were observed over a period of eight weeks. The results show that the concept of the VTU can be transferred basically to the academic context of music studies. It can contribute to an optimization of study credits. However, the results also show that motivational and volitional processes are scarcely discussed throughout the music studies. The VTU has the potential to convey the importance of holistic learning and instruction approaches to students and teachers.


Keywords: motivation, music pedagogy, university teaching, Volition

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©  b:em Beiträge Empirischer Musikpädagogik/ bulletin of empirical music education research

Supported by the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media

Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG)