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We examined the possible effects of six dimensions of music self-concept on determination of self-esteem, through the application of models based on individual and normative-group importance. Previous studies have supported the individual model of importance in narrowly defined self-domains such as spiritual self-concept that might be unimportant for most people, but very important for some people. However, results from more recent studies of spiritual, academic, and physical self-concepts involving latent variable methodologies support the normative-group model. Here, we extended the use of latent variable methods to music self-concept using a sample of 512 junior high students (11–16 years old). Our results for music-reading skills supported the individual importance model rather than the normative-group importance model. Additional results revealed that singing, instrument playing, and the importance of instrument playing had direct rather than interactive linkages with self-esteem. Collectively, these results highlight differential effects of performance (singing, instrument playing) and knowledge (reading) on self-esteem, and imply that strategies to enhance self-esteem may vary within different domains of music instruction and participation. At a more general level, the findings together with those from previous studies indicate that interconnections between specific and global aspects of self-concept vary across domains and are more complex than previously thought.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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