Document Type


Publication Date



Music education researchers have a lengthy history of examining reasons why individuals seek participation in musical activities. Within that history, however, the concept of ‘possible selves’ (Markus & Nurius, 1986) has received little attention until recently. In the broadest terms, possible selves are a person’s impressions of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they fear becoming. This view of self-concept moves beyond a simple collection of self-attributed traits to encompass the idea that individuals actively manage their choices and actions in order to promote desirable selves and inhibit less-desirable selves. The focus of this article is a systematic review of research and related literature concerning possible selves with specific attention to potential implications for the participation and persistence of adolescent boys in choral music education.


Author accepted manuscript version of the article published in:

Freer, P. K. (2010). Two Decades of Research on Possible Selves and the “Missing Males” Problem in Choral Music. International Journal of Music Education, 28(1), 17-30. doi: 10.1177/0255761409351341

Included in

Music Commons