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How important is intrinsic motivation to learn music?

Motivation plays an important in any kind of learning. It is of two types, extrinsic motivation that is motivation coming from external factors in terms of various tangible rewards and intrinsic motivation or the internal desire which drives an individual.

For any type of learning to be successful it is important that both of these are present. It is especially important when it comes to learning music because music requires you to give your hundred percent and only then you’ll be good at it. You can’t make music half-heartedly. A lot of parents put their children into music lessons without asking about their interests. Generally, such music lessons reap no significant results.

Therefore, intrinsic motivation becomes very important for musicians. A lot of musicians tap into their emotions and use it as an inspiration to create new music, this inspiration to produce music is a component of intrinsic motivation. In fact, studies show that music teachers have more intrinsic motivation as compared to extrinsic motivation.

But what if there are factors which provide an individual with extrinsic motivation?

Rewards can definitely go a long way, but external factors alone cannot insure successful learning. For example, a parent who enrolled his kid into music lessons might provide him with all external motivators, like a healthy atmosphere and other rewards, but still his child may be unsuccessful in learning music. This is because he doesn’t feel internally motivated to learn music. External motivators can help you learn technicalities of an instrument, like how to play a note or how to hold it correctly, or how to play a chord, but it cannot teach you how to create and produce music.

Music literature suggests that music students who are intrinsically motivated generally perceive an internal locus of control when attributing reasons to their failure. They feel a personal responsibility towards their success and failure. They look at their success and failure as an expression of their own abilities. This is what drives them to become better and they are always striving to reach new heights. Musicians who have confidence in their music and feel competent about themselves are high on intrinsic motivation.

So, how can we foster intrinsic motivation for better results?

  • Avoid Bias: To help foster intrinsic motivation, music teachers can avoid differentiating students by their ability.
  • Positive Feedback: It values and rewards their abilities. This keeps their moral up and motivates them to be better.
  • Tasks: Teachers over the years have been using various tasks and learning activities which engage students and keep them motivated. They generally do that by giving task which give students opportunities for social comparison.

Therefore, it is clear that going to a music lesson without any actual desire to learn music will definitely be useless. If you want to make your child actually learns music then make sure that they are internally motivated and adopt strategies to foster intrinsic motivation. Adults generally have a greater sense of what motivates them internally, therefore they do not need such motivators. However, having intrinsic motivators can definitely speed up their learning process and growth graph.

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