Admission to music conservatoires
: assessing the influence of motivation and parental support on musical learning

  • António Manuel Fontes de Oliveira (Student)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Admission to the elementary level of Portuguese Public Conservatories consists of tests to assess music skills. This model is based on the conviction that children show outstanding talents from an early age. However, the results of these tests tend to be unreliable and unrobust in their ability to predict musical achievement. Considering Gagné's Differentiated Model of Gifts and Talents, we intend with this thesis to analyze the potential of the aural skills test to predict musical achievement of students admitted to a Portuguese Conservatory of Music, as well as to assess the same predictive power of two other variables: motivation and parental support. The first article of the set of four that make up this thesis is a systematic review of the literature on the motivation to learn to play a musical instrument in samples of children and adolescents. The second article analyzed the relationship between the results of admission tests and sociodemographic information to try to understand if there is any economic/social factor that explains the results obtained by candidates in the student selection process. The third article took advantage of the pandemic context that unexpectedly emerged in the period in which this investigation took place and assessed the relationship between parental support and musical achievement. The last article investigates the potential predictor of musical learning by aural skills assessment as well as motivation and parental support. This study is innovative as it addresses a problem that has not received the attention of researchers and deserves a better understanding due to the extent of the impacts that the model has on children's lives and in the management of public resources. On the other hand, the longitudinal design of this research is pioneering in the area, and there is no known study in Portugal on admission tests.
Date of Award4 Sept 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPatrícia Oliveira-Silva (Supervisor), Gary MacPherson (Co-Supervisor) & Luísa Mota Ribeiro (Co-Supervisor)


  • Music education
  • School admission
  • Aural skills assessment
  • Motivation
  • Parental support
  • Prediction


  • Doutoramento em Ciências da Educação

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