Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Doctor of Philosophy



Collaborative Specialization

Music Cognition


Watson, Kevin E.

2nd Supervisor

Woodford, Paul


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of learning via mastery versus coping models on self-efficacy for self-regulated music learning, self-efficacy for classical guitar performance, and achievement in classical guitar performance. A secondary purpose of this study addressed the extent to which these three variables were correlated. The sample consisted of 86 undergraduate non-music majors recruited from two beginning guitar courses at a large Canadian university who reported limited previous experience with playing the guitar. Achievement in classical guitar performance was measured using the researcher-constructed Classical Guitar Performance Rating Scale. Data regarding participants’ self-efficacy for self-regulated music learning and self-efficacy for classical guitar performance were collected using two researcher-constructed scales. Internal reliability coefficients for the two efficacy measures were high (> .90). Internal reliability coefficients for the performance achievement measures ranged from poor (.59) to fair (.72). Interjudge reliability coefficients for the achievement measure were very high (> .95).

Participants were randomly assigned to a coping or mastery model instructional condition and received eight instructional video model treatments, once per week over an eight-week time span. Participants performed a 16-measure classical guitar piece after a two-week orientation period and at the conclusion of the eight-week intervention period. Participants completed the Self-Efficacy for Self-Regulated Musical Learning Scale and the Self-Efficacy for Classical Guitar Performance Rating Scale at the outset of the study. These measures were administered again following the eight-week intervention.

Results showed that self-efficacy for self-regulated learning significantly increased following exposure to the video model intervention. A significant interaction effect was found for the pre-and postinstruction self-regulated learning sub-dimension of self-instruction with the coping condition demonstrating significantly greater pre-to posttest gains than the mastery condition. Significant main effects for time and condition were found on the self-efficacy for classical guitar performance scale, however no significant interaction effect was obtained. No significant interaction effect was found for the performance achievement variable. Many significant correlations were found between participant experience variables and pre- and posttest scale results. The strongest correlation (r=.75) was between efficacy for self-regulated learning and efficacy for performance at posttest

Summary for Lay Audience

Do beginner guitarists who watch excellent guitarists (mastery) become more confident at learning and playing the guitar compared to those who watch a guitar player who struggles and gets better over time (coping); and do they become better players?

I taught two on-line guitar classes for non-music majors and 86 people joined my study. I made a questionnaire to rate guitar playing ability and two questionnaires to rate confidence for learning and playing the guitar. Students were placed in two groups. One watched an excellent guitar player (mastery) and the other watched a struggling player (coping). I gave them a new video to watch, each week for eight weeks. They didn’t know they were watching different videos. They thought the guitar model was a past student in the class when really, she was a guitar performance major. Both groups recorded and submitted a short guitar piece during week two and week ten. I wanted to know if one group got better than the other by watching the videos. At the beginning of the study students rated their confidence for learning and for playing the guitar. After eight weeks they rated themselves again. I wanted to know if one group became more confident from watching the videos.

At the end of the study the coping group felt more confident for learning to play guitar than the mastery group; but not significantly. Part of the questionnaire asked them how confident they were to self-instruct themselves. The coping group felt significantly more confident than the mastery group to self-instruct themselves. The coping group was much more confident that the mastery group for playing the guitar, however, the coping group was also more confident to begin with, so these results might be a biased. An expert guitarist rated all the students video submissions. His results showed that both groups played significantly better than when they began, however, one group was not better than another. Students who were confident for learning the guitar were also confident for playing the guitar; they also played better.