A qualitative assessment of students' experiences of studying music: a Spanish perspective on the European credit transfer system (ECTS)

José María Esteve Faubel, Miguel Ángel Molina Valero, Jonathan Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate whether or not the allocation of time proposed in the Music Study Guide, adapted from the Espacio Europeo de Educacion Superior (European Higher Education Area) guidelines, is consistent and adequate for students with a minimal musical knowledge.

The data for this study arise from a self-administered questionnaire completed during the academic year 2005-2006 by first, second and third-year students of the primary education with music specialism degree at Alicante University. Third-year students studying for the equivalent degree at the Autonomous University of Madrid acted as a control group. The report acknowledges variables related to the students' previous knowledge and considers the relationship of these variables to the time and effort required by students to complete their musical studies.

Qualitative methodology has been employed in considering the data as a means of providing in-depth analysis of the student experience. The study of students' stories and experiences provides an opportunity to understand their own perspectives, strengths and weaknesses. The questions were categorised by the researchers and subsequently assigned codes for analysis. The results show that: students' previous academic knowledge influences their quantification of time and effort and determines their overall performance; the teaching guide is coherent with the demands of university studies and the labour market; and difficulties in the acquisition of certain competences are evident only in those students who come to university without any musical experience.

This last point underlines the need to provide curricular reinforcement or 'level zero' courses to support students in their musical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-265
Number of pages25
JournalMusic Education Research
Issue number2
Early online date26 May 2009
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • music teacher training
  • generalist/specialist music teacher training
  • ECTS

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