M.Ed., Planning Officer, Doctoral Researcher

Doctoral project

Jääskeläinen, Tuula: Students’ Experienced Workload in Higher Music Education

Music students are known to have field-related physical and psychological demands in their studies, such as painful musculoskeletal conditions and performance anxiety, however, research-based findings of students’ experienced workload are lacking in higher music education. The primary aim of this study is to examine in a higher music education context how students in the Bachelor and Master levels experience workload in their studies and how their experienced workload is related to their proactive coping styles in different music genres. As research also indicates differences in music genres in learning music, the secondary aim is to investigate in the specific context of classical music genre how this kind of research-based knowledge can be utilised in the pedagogical development in higher music education institution. This will be achieved by investigating how the experienced workload and proactive coping styles of classical music students enrolled in Bachelor and Master levels studies are related to their experiences of instruction.

In this study, workload in studies is scrutinised by collecting data through interviews to investigate students’ own experiences in workload instead of perceived, estimated, or with predefined criteria measured workload. Because the public performances are essential parts of studying in higher music education, music teaching and learning situations are characterised by embodied cognition and physical and psychological experiences are emphasized more than generally in higher education. In addition to the interviews of students’ experienced workload, results of the analysis of data collected by using questionnaire about proactive coping styles will shed light on students’ strategic behaviours in stressful situations, while experiences of instruction will shed light on teacher’s pedagogical practices as perceived by the students.

The response rate is usually low in student surveys, and most study programs in single higher music education institutions have students in numbers too small to provide statistically significant findings using comparison methods. Therefore, this statistical analysis is based on a mixed methods design utilising the Bayesian statistics with Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), and samples will be grouped according to the music genres. Research findings can be employed in the development of teaching, curricula, study programs, and courses in higher music education. This study will also encourage students to reflect on their own experiences of workload, proactive coping styles, and experiences of instruction by offering the participants the opportunity to receive individual feedback on scores in addition to receiving the overall results of the study. The overall aim of this research is to promote equity in pedagogical practices by supporting health, well-being, and conceptual change in higher music education institutions.

Keywords: coping skills; experiences; genres; higher education; instruction; mixed methods; music students; student workload