Self-Determination Theory Perspective on Motivation and Solo Performance among Students in Higher Music Education in Serbia


  • Blanka Bogunović University of Arts in Belgrade, Faculty of Music, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Olja Jovanović University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology and Center for Teacher Education, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Nataša Simić University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute of Psychology, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Dejana Mutavdžin University of Arts in Belgrade, Faculty of Music, Belgrade, Serbia


self-determination theory, basic psychological needs, motivational regulation style, solo performance, higher music education


Motivation is highly important for participation in musical activities and musical achievement. In the context of higher music education (HME) in Serbia, we sought to examine the relationship between students’ solo performance opportunities and two key components of the Self-Determination Theory (STD) – basic psychological needs (Competence, Relatedness and Autonomy) and motivational regulation styles (Amotivation, External, Introjected negative, Introjected positive, Identified, Intrinsic). The convenient sample of 197 HME students (performing modules; Mage = 23.88, SD = 3.4) completed two inventories: Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (BPNSFS; Chen et al., 2015) and Relative Autonomy Index Questionnaire (RAI-SRQ; Sheldon et al., 2017); they also provided data on the frequency of solo performances during HME. The results indicate that our participants’ basic psychological needs are highly met, with the need for Relatedness being significantly less satisfied and the need for Autonomy significantly more frustrated than the remaining two needs. The motivation for participation in music activities in our sample could be described as predominantly autonomous – Identified or Intrinsic. Fulfilment/frustration of basic psychological needs and motivational regulation styles predicted the likelihood of public solo performances, with Amotivation and External motivation being significant predictors. Our findings suggest that students with higher external motivation for participation in musical activities are more likely to have solo performances. In line with STD’s postulates, our findings are seen as a reflection of the dominant approaches to music education in Serbia, and are discussed as such.