Assessing Practice Habits: A Study of Collegiate Instrumental Teachers’ Estimation of Students’ Practice Habits Versus Students’ Self-Report

  • Chooi Wee Lau Mahidol University
Keywords: collegiate instrumental teacher, estimation, instrumental lesson, music practice, practice habits


This survey research aims to assess the collegiate instrumental teachers’ ability to estimate students’ practice habits in the practice room based on the students’ performance during the instrumental lesson and to collect collegiate instrumental teachers’ suggestions on estimating students’ practice habits in the practice room. A questionnaire in two forms was designed for 15 collegiate instrumental teachers and 30 music performance undergraduate students who were selected through a convenience sampling approach. The percent agreement (PA) and Cohen’s kappa (𝜿) were utilised to examine the inter-rater reliability between the results of both participants on the practice habits that focus on the practice time, practice sessions, goal setting, focused attention, mental practice, technique practice, metronome practice, practise with an electronic tuner, and practise with other practice strategies. The low average results, 31.50% on the percent agreement and .0437 on the Cohen’s kappa revealed that collegiate instrumental teachers cannot effectively estimate their students’ practice habits in the practice room based on the students’ performance during the instrumental lesson. However, an interesting observation was made from the suggestions given by the teachers, that is, the importance of communication of practice habits as well as observation of them in the private lesson studio. To improve, a system that teaches the key indicators of estimating students’ practice habits or a training package or method to observe students’ use of practice habits in the practice room is recommended to develop for future teachers.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Chooi Wee Lau, Mahidol University

Lau Chooi Wee is a candidate in Master of Arts (Music) from the College of Music, Mahidol University, Thailand. She has received a Bachelor of Music from the University Putra Malaysia.


Barry, N. H., & Hallam, S. (2002). Practice. In Parncutt, R. & McPherson, G. E. (Eds.), The science and psychology of music performance: Creative strategies for teaching and learning (pp. 151-165). Oxford University Press.

Bujang, M. A., & Baharum, N. (2017). Guidelines of the minimum sample size requirements for Cohen’s kappa. Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health, 14(2), e12267-1-e12267-10.

Bynum, J. (2019). Productive practice habits. International Trombone Association Journal, 47(4), 32-34. Academic Search Complete. (Accession No. 139177185)

Conrad, C. (2012, May 10). Top ten clues your student hasn’t practiced.

Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House.

Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Romer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363-406.

Geringer, J. M., & Kostka, M. J. (1984). An analysis of practice room behaviour of college music students. Contributions to Music Education, 11(1), 24-27.

Johnson, D. (2009). More than just minutes: Using practice charts as tools for learning. Music Educator Journal, 95(3), 63-70.

Kostka, M. J. (2002). Practice expectations and attitudes: A survey of college-level music teachers and students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 50(2), 145-154.

Madsen, C. K. (2004). A 30-year follow-up study of actual applied music practice versus estimated practice. Journal of Research in Music Education, 52(1), 77-88.

McHugh, M. L. (2012, October 15). Interrater reliability: The Kappa statistic.

Miksza, P. (2007). Effective practice: An investigation of observed practice behaviors, self-reported practice habits, and the performance achievement of high school wind players. Journal of Research in Music Education, 55(4), 359-375.

Miksza, P., & Tan, L. (2015). Predicting collegiate wind players’ practice efficiency, flow, and self-efficacy for self-regulation: An exploratory study of relationships between teachers’ instruction and students’ practicing. Journal of Research in Music Education, 63(2), 162-179.

Millican, S. (2011). Turn off the tuner for better ensemble intonation. School Band & Orchestra, 14(8), 34-40. Education Source. (Accession No. 66173462)

Mills, J. (2007). Instrumental teaching. Oxford University Press.

Neal, D. T., Wood, W., & Quinn, J. M. (2006). Habits—A repeat performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(4), 198-202.

Pike, P. D. (2014). Behind the practice room door: A case study of second-year piano majors. MTNA e-journal, 5(3), 11-23. (Accession No. 2014-07085)

Platz, F., Kopiez, R., Lehmann, A. C., & Wolf, A. (2014). The influence of deliberate practice on musical achievement: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.

Schuring, M. (2009). Practice. Oboe art and method (pp. 70-92). Oxford University Press.

Scott, S. J. (2012). Rethinking the roles of assessment in music education. Music Educators Journal, 98(3), 31-35.

How to Cite
Lau, C. W. (2020). Assessing Practice Habits: A Study of Collegiate Instrumental Teachers’ Estimation of Students’ Practice Habits Versus Students’ Self-Report. Malaysian Journal of Music, 9, 17-28.