Formal-informal musical learning, sex and musicians' personalities

Rose, Dawn; Jones Bartoli, Alice and Heaton, Pam F.. 2019. Formal-informal musical learning, sex and musicians' personalities. Personality and Individual Differences, 142, pp. 207-213. ISSN 0191-8869 [Article]

[img] Text
10718 PAID Corrected Blinded.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (109kB)

Abstract or Description

Research has suggested that differences in personality traits among western musicians, in comparison to the general population, may be related to gender. For example, studies suggest male classical musicians are more introverted than popular musicians, though female musicians may be more extroverted than population norms. Contemporary musical learning can be formal and/or informal, and changes in music education may have impacted upon traditional gender-based stereotypes. This study investigated similarities and differences between formal/informal musical learning, gender and musicians’ personalities. The sample included 275 musicians (87 female, mean age 40.2 years, range 19-81, learning duration > 6 years). The participants were either self-taught (n = 74), formally taught (n = 62), or a mixture of the two (n = 139). A comparison of two brief inventories (TIPI and BFI-10) provided reliability and validity. Contrary to previous research, no gender differences were found for the trait of Extraversion. Group differences according to formal/informal learning styles were apparent. Higher levels of Conscientiousness were associated with formal music learning. Overall musicians had higher levels of Openness to Experience than population norms. Further research will be required to understand whether this is an artifact of access and provision to music education, or a systematic personality difference among musicians.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Musicians, Personality, Extraversion, Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Gender, Creativity, Formal/informal musical learning

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



11 July 2018Accepted
14 July 2018Published Online
May 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2018 11:48

Last Modified:

14 Jul 2020 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)