Students’ motivation in studying music: The Hong Kong context


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Studying music in schools has not been regarded to be important for Hong Kong students and parents. Similar to many other countries and regions, music is marginalized in the school curriculum. However, facing the 21st century, the Hong Kong government regards arts education to be an important contribution to the creative industries. The motivation of students in learning music thus becomes more critical. This article reports data drawn from an international study that examined students’ motivation to study music as compared to other school subjects across the school grades. A total of 4495 students from 23 primary and 20 secondary schools participated in a survey. Results indicate a significant decline in competence beliefs and values (p < .001) and a significant increase in task difficulty for music and other school subjects across the school levels. Compared with Chinese, mathematics, visual arts and physical education (PE), music was ranked rather low in terms of competence beliefs and values, and task difficulty. In addition, there is a trend towards many secondary students learning instruments outside schools. Results may be attributed to a range of factors including a utilitarian view of education held by parents and students and the overall business-oriented atmosphere of the society, in that people focus on financial success rather than a holistic human development. Copyright © 2010 The Author(s). 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-168
JournalResearch Studies in Music Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Leung, B. W., & McPherson, G. E. (2010). Students’ motivation in studying music: The Hong Kong context. Research Studies in Music Education, 32(2), 155-168.


  • Competence beliefs
  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • Expectancy-value theory
  • Motivation
  • Music education
  • School subjects
  • Self-beliefs
  • Task difficulty
  • Values


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