Adolescents' musical role models: Whom do they admire and why?

A. Ivaldi, Susan A. O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


Despite the wealth of research into adolescent role models, few studies have concentrated solely on the musical figures identified by adolescents and the reasons why. Using mixed methods, 381 adolescents (aged 13—14) completed a questionnaire about the musicians they admired and the reasons why. Focus groups were also conducted where adolescents discussed the most important and least important reasons for admiring a musical role model. Nineteen picture cards of famous popular and classical musicians were also presented to elicit discussion. Results indicated that the majority of adolescents identified famous figures as role models, most of whom were male and singers of popular musical styles. The three main reasons for admiring a role model were: (1) dedication; (2) popular image; and (3) ability. Focus group findings suggest that whether or not the role model plays a musical instrument is of little importance when it comes to identifying a famous figure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-415
Number of pages21
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2008


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