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Effects of private music instruction on middle-school students' musical performance anxiety
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 Material Information
Title: Effects of private music instruction on middle-school students' musical performance anxiety
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Jackson, Paul L. ( Dissertant )
Brophy, Timothy ( Thesis advisor )
Richards, Paul ( Reviewer )
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2009
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Music Education Thesis, M.M.
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Music Education
Genre: non-fiction   ( margct )
 Notes
Abstract: Music educators often must find ways to deal with students’ performance anxiety. Little existing research is available to help guide music educators teaching performance-based music courses at the middle-school level as they seek to effectively reduce students’ performance anxiety before a performance. Through this study, potential relationships were explored to help determine whether students who receive private instruction on a chosen instrument experience a higher or lower perceived level of anxiety compared to peers who do not take private lessons. Additionally, students’ anxiety levels were compared to final performance ratings to examine how anxiety may affect students’ performance quality. Middle-school orchestra students (N=6) were asked to complete a questionnaire after a graded solo performance. Using a four-part Likert-type scale, the questionnaire included questions regarding the students’ self-reported anxiety, preparation, and self-assessment of the performance. Performance experience was gauged by students’ number of years playing an instrument, as well as whether students perform outside of school. Analysis of the data indicated a correlation between students’ years of experience and the level of preparedness felt before the performance. Additional correlations, although not statistically significant (p>.05), indicated students who take private lessons may also experience increased anxiety before a performance. Additional relationships were discovered between students’ years of experience and a decrease in anxiety before the performance. Students with more experience also tend to feel more prepared before the performance.
Publication Status: Published
Thesis: MM in Music Education conferred Fall 2009.
Acquisition: Music Education terminal project
General Note: Includes bibliographical information (pages 32-34).
General Note: Includes vita.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 35 p.
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Permissions granted to the University of Florida Institutional Repository and University of Florida Digital Collections to allow use by the submitter. All rights reserved by the author.
System ID: IR00000045:00001

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1 EFFECT OF PRIVATE MU SIC INSTRUCTION ON M IDDLE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE ANXIETY By PAUL L. JACKSON A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFI LLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF MUSIC UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009

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2 2009 Paul L. Jackson

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3 To my wife.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my wife, Mary, for her unending support through this effort. I thank Dr. Tim othy Brophy for all of his guidance and direction, and for heading the Summer Master of Music Education program at the University of Florida. I wish to thank Dr. Paul Richards for serving on my committee, and for his wonderful teaching for the past two su mmers. V ery special thank s go to the students who participated in this study. Without them this study w ould not have been possible.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 9 Introduction and Background ................................ ................................ .................... 9 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 11 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 11 Delimitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 12 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ... 13 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 13 Overview of Physiological Effects of Anxiety ................................ .......................... 13 Effects of Anxiety on Performance Ability ................................ ............................... 14 Managing Performan ce Anxiety ................................ ................................ .............. 16 Child development and anxiety. ................................ ................................ ....... 16 Increased performance opportunities. ................................ .............................. 17 Coping with performance anxiety. ................................ ................................ .... 18 Effects of practice on anxiety. ................................ ................................ ........... 18 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 20 Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 20 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 20 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 22 5 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS ................................ ................................ .................. 24 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 24 Implications for Music Educators and Future Research Questions ......................... 25 APPENDIX A IRB APPROVAL AND CONSENT FORMS ................................ ............................. 28 B QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 31 L IST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 32 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 35

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6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1. Descript (N=6) ................................ ............... 22 4 2. Correlations: Private instruction and years studied with anxiety prior to performance, relaxation after performance, preparation, and self a ssessment (N=6) ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 23

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7 Abstract of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Music EFFECT O F PRIVATE MUSIC INST RUCTION ON MIDDLE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE ANXIETY By Paul Jackson December 2009 Chair: Timothy Brophy Major: Music Education Little exis ting research is available to help guide music educators teaching performance based music courses at the middle school level as they seek to effectively before a performance. Through this study potential relationships were explore d to help determine whether students who receive private instruct ion on a chosen instrument experience a higher or lower perceived level of anxiety compared to peers who do not take private lessons. anxiety levels were compared to final performance ratings to examine how anxiety may Middle school orchestra students (N=6) were asked to complete a questionnaire after a graded solo performance. Using a four part Likert type scale, t h e questionnaire reported anxiety, preparation, and self assessment of the performance. Performance whether students perfor m outside of school.

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8 and the level of preparedness felt before the performance. Additional correlations, although not statistically significant (p>.05), indicated student s who take private lessons may also experience increased anxiety before a performance. Additional relationships before the performance. Students with more experience also ten d to feel more prepared before the performance.

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9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Introduction and Background All performers, whether pr ofessional, amateur, or student, are subject to ual differently, and each individual deals with it in different ways. Even seasoned professional musicians may have difficulty dealing with this stress. Middle and high school aged students seem to be more often and more severely affected by performance anxiety, possibly due to the lack of experience in dealing with the added stress of performance, and the lack of technical development of skills to perform at the level they believe necessary (Sternbach, 2008). Depending on the individual situation, students may experience positive or negative effects on performance when feeling particularly anxious (Ely, 1991). Some individuals thrive on this pressure, and are even able to perform at a higher level than usual particularly thos e with more playing experience and higher levels of training (Hamann, 1982 ; Hamann & Sobaje, 1983 ). For others, anxiety has a negative effect on In fact s ome individuals are so severely affected with anxiety be fore a performance that it can be debilitating (Ely, 1991). U nderstand ing the effect s is particularly important for music educators who work to present public performance s that are excellent in quality, not only for the total ensemble, but for each individual within the ensemble. Learning ways to control importance. Ely (1991) writes

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10 musical performances, we must find ways to control the debilitating effects of anxiety (p. 35) In middle school music students, there is often a reaction of extreme nervousness before each concert performed throughout the year. One of the tasks for music educators is to help studen ts work through these feelings of anxiety that seem to appear immediately before a performance. Each teacher has developed a mental toolkit full of ideas and methods to help students through these situations. For some teachers simply talking with the st udents about the anxious feelings may be effective helping them understand that it is completely natural to feel that way Others may use humor or different visualization strategies. Teachers may also use examples of personal experience to help students understand methods of alleviating anxiety. Occasionally, students problem s may require the teacher to develop new strategies Often, t he first reaction from students experiencing anxiety before a concert is expressing that the performance will go poorly Whe n talking with the students, the teacher can develop an understanding of the situation, and the cause for this attitude can often be determined More often than not, it seems students react this way because they do not feel adequately prepared eith er as individuals or for the entire group Occasionally, t grounded in the fact that he or she simply lacks performance experience or has not developed adequate technique s because of his or her age A lack of pe rsonal time practicing the music being performed may also be a factor. For those students feeling inadequately prepared, one c ould reason that giving additional instruction to a student may help to alleviate these feelings.

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11 While music educators strive to provide opportunities for students to receive additional help on their music, there is often not enough time in the day Music teachers often have multiple schools to service, or may be required to work on large group issues rather than finding time to assist individuals. There also may be too many students requiring assistance with technique to allow the teacher adequate time to introduce strategies to alleviate stress for the additional teaching time spent to be effective. In those cas es, private instruction from a tutor outside of school is often recommended by the teacher, and can be an effective tool for learning music and for mastering technique Private tutors also can provide additional performance opportunities and help students improve technical skills on a musical instrument which may in turn help the student learn to control his or her performance anxiety Purpose of the Study Music educators who teach performance based classes in middle school have many roles to play. It can be difficult to find effective ways to manage all of th e tasks that must be completed One focus of music educators is to produce an effective and satisfying performance event. Students in music ensembles with little performing experience may often f eel more anxiety than students wit h higher levels of experience, The purpose of this study was to determine the effect that additional instruction from a private instructor may have on the level o on the final performance product. Research Questions S tudies have been conducted to examine the effects of performance anxiety on students. Some researchers have sought to help alleviate the effects, giving students a

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12 higher level of comfort while performing, allowing them to potentially perform at a higher level. Hamann (1982) studied performance anxiety in collegiate music students, performance quality under differing levels of anxiety. While the purpose of this study is not to questions similar to those in study are raised: 1. Do students who re ceive private instruction experience different levels of performance anxiety than those who do not? 2. before a performance affect the final quality of the performance? Delimitations No attempt was made in this study to dete rmine whether students received any instruction from teachers (either private instructors or classroom music teachers), peers, or parents regarding techniques to help manage anxiety related to a musical performance. Additionally, t his study did not control for other variables including the number of times a student has performed a solo, or how many times a student has participated in an adjudicated audition or performance.

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13 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LI TERATURE Introduction N umerous studies discuss the human response to stress, includ ing several that particularly address music performance anxiety. The focus of m any of the studies wa s performance anxiety in music students, and ways in which music educators may be able to alleviate the stress levels of st udents under their supervision The following literature review is divided up into several sections: an overview of the p hysiological effects of anxiety, studied effects of anxiety on performance ability and methods of managing the effects of performa nce anxiety. Overview of Physiological Effects of Anxiety Stress and anxiety are often considered detrimental to performance, whether musical or otherwise. When confronted with a stressful situation, the brain transmits warning signals via the autonomic nervous system as the body prepares for the impending threat. This reaction is referred to as the acute s tress response or which triggers certain predictable physiological reactions throughout systems. When performing in front of an audience, performers may experience symptoms of this response as the body tries to deal with this perceived threat of public performance. sur ge in heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, breathing, and metabolism, and a tensing U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) n awareness of some danger causes fearful thoughts that trigger sweaty palms, dry mouth or trembling hands, that, in turn, cause behavioral responses such as missing

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14 notes and forgetting Abel (1990) adds that not only are there the and fear (p.171). Steptoe (1982) offers similar informati on. These are examples of the fight or flight res ponse that individuals may face when experiencing performance anxie t y. Effects of Anxiety on Performance Ability Ely (1991) documented the wide range of reactions in individuals to anxiety when performing both positive and negative True, a vast array o f the available research shows that stress will likely create problems for performers, causing performances to be less than stellar (Lee, 2002; Ely, 1991; Sternbach, 2008; Leglar, 1978 ). Hamann (1985) eduction and musical performance generally indicates that anxiety should be reduced for a musician to There is some research to the contrary, however. A gainst conventional wisdom, there are indications that anx iety may contribute to positive performances, or even increased ability levels in some performers. Hamann studied performance anxiety using the Trait State Anxiety Theory. Essentially, the Trait State Anxiety Theory posit s that two types of anxiety exist : one when a person is at rest, (Hamann, 1985, p. 26). An individual wit h high trait anxiety will experience higher increases in state anxiety than one with a low trait anxiety level. The theory also posits that individuals with high task mastery and high trait anxiety will benefit from increased

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15 anxiety states, while individ uals with low task mastery skills and high trait anxiety will not benefit from increased anxiety (Hamann, 1982, 1985). Hamann (1982) fo und that individu als with higher levels of experience and ability under condi tions of sig nificantly increased anxiety states This gives credence to the assertion that more performing or additional practice may help to alleviate anxiety, or at least help to decrease the number and severity of errors due to the additional stress of pe rformance. In addition to showing that experienced students tend to perform well under pressure, Hamann (1985) discovered that students with mastery skills performed better than individuals with high trait anxiety and low t ask Tartalone (1992) compared anxiety between different experience level college students performing a graded jury and found that the peak of anxiety symptoms steadily increase and decrease of heart rate than their less experienced counterparts. In contrast, according to Kokotsaki and Davidson (2003) individuals with more experie nce show ed higher levels of anxiety before the performance than during the performance. prior to the actual performance. Regardless of when the anxiety peaks the stude nts with higher task mastery appear to perform at a higher level. Hamann (1985) concludes mastery sk ills, the So how

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16 can music educators help to ensure that developing musicians (those with low task mastery) lower their anxiety levels to reduce the chance s of hindering their pe rformance? Managing Performance Anxiety Music educators are on the front lines in th e effort to help students overcome performance anxiety. Several ideas are presented in the literature to assist teachers in this task. e very direct way for music teachers to students directly cope with the fee lings o f excitement or anxiety the first feelings of fight or sometimes a lot of edge. Performing can be a lot more appealing when there is the Perhaps we can best control performance anxiety, or at least understand its origins if we take a tri p backward, and re examine childhood. Child d evelopment and a nxiety. Children, particularly elementary aged students, often seem more at ease about perfor ming. Ely (1991) supposes that performance tendency to experience anxiety when performing in public is learned. Evidence for this belief is the fact that young children sing and dance in front of people with no fear whatsoever. In fact, most young children get very excited about performing for others. continues, not ing that as we progress through

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17 overtakes our ch ildish excitement to perform. We begin to look at the audience as a potential threat, an enemy. Perhaps a way of eliminating or controlling the effects of embracing the audience, instead of ign Becoming more accustomed to the performance situation through structured performance opportunities may be helpful to students. Increased p erformance o pportunities. Kirchner (2005) and Petrovich (2004) advocate frequent pe rformances, including authentic simulations of performances to Petrovich promotes a progressive system of performances, starting small and very low key, and progressively moving to more difficult situations w hich more closely resemble the final performance situation. Offering the students positive performance opportunities also appears to help. After a performance in a master emphasis on positive, as students may misinterpret any feedback as negative, provide constructive c omments to help improve performance Providing students simulated, yet authentic performance opportunities may lead to reduced anxiety when the actual performance time comes. Orman (2003) u sed virtual reality technology to simulate stressful performance situations in a study with collegiate music students Each student was exposed to a series of virtual performance situations to determine how exposure to these virtual environments

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18 levels. Orman discovered that once subjects experienced the same performance situation twice, heart rates and perceived anxiety levels decreased. Coping w ith p erformance a nxiety. Several authors and researchers have examined coping strategies to assist in the management of perform ance anxiety : u s ing different relaxation techniques (Alexander Technique deep breathing, etc.); visualization; positive imagery and positive thinking; and cognitive therapy (Ely, 1991; Kirchner, 2005). Many of these ideas can be u s ed effectively by teach ers in the classroom. For instance, teaching students to effectively visualize a performance may allow them to mentally prepare for the performing environment. Kirchner encourages students to not only visualize the performance of an individual work on a program, but in fact the entire program from start to finish. She writes, t his process may include walking on the stage, sitting down at the piano and composing yourself, playing through the program, having the audience favorably acknowledge the performa nce and walking Effects of p ractice on a nxiety. Despite having the best of intentions, teachers trying to alleviate those anxious feelings. Taborsky (2007) s tudent musicians are often told that they will not feel the stress and anxiety of a performance if they are well p re by Hamann after his studi es in the early 1980s, some evidence support s that thought. Perhaps the big push for additional practice may add a level of stress that may not help It may instead negatively affect Additionally, the way a student p ractices may affect his or her anxiety level

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19 (Dews, 1989). criticism in practicing can is a good idea to distribute your practicing over a practice the music the way you will be performing it, even though you are not giving a be highly self Because of this, students may end up over practicing, and possibly setting a student up for additional self blame that will affect later Part of the responsibility of music educators is instructing and coaching students on practicing techniques that may help them learn their music without undue stress.

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20 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Design This study was a non experimental descriptive study The study took place during district Solo and Ensembl e Music Performance Assessment in November of 2009. The population consisted of seventh and eighth grade students from several middle schools within the district. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire after their performance. The questionnaire focused on several points: Grade l evel Length of study on instrument Participation in private lessons Participation in performances other than school Anxiety level before and after performance Q uestions regarding anxiety, prepar ation and performance quality were measured using a fully anchored four point Likert type scale. In addition, final adjudicated scores from with data collected from the questionnaires. Procedure Principals of middle s chools selected to participate were contac ted via email inviting them to take part in the study. Nine s chools were chosen randomly from a total of sixteen in the district Of the nine schools selected, four responded by the deadline with willingne ss to participate From the four participating schools, parent consent was received f o r six students, all of whom elected to participate in the study Parent consent and student assent forms are found in Appendix A. The students who took part in this st udy all performed solo s at a solo

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21 and ensemble assessment in the district. Once the student s finished the ir performance s they were given questionnaire s The form included questions regarding the student s self reported anxiety, preparation, self assessm ent of the performance, and private instruction; and questions about performance experience. Regarding anxiety levels, students were asked to rate both the level of anxiety before the performance and the level of relaxation after the performance. Perform ance experience students perform outside of school.

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22 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Of the six students, three students reported that they receive private instruction ; three do no over four. Two of the students perform in ensembles outside of their school responsibilities. Most of the students felt prepared for their performances, and all but one student felt that they played well on their solo. When asked Question 1, nervous), with a mean score of 2.33. St udent responses to Q uestion 2 which gaug ed relaxatio n after the performance elicited responses ranging from 2 (a little bit) to 4 (very relaxed), with a mean of 3.00. Student r esponses to Question 3 regarding preparation included responses ranging from 3 (prepared) to 4 (very prepared). Question 4 was a self assessment of performance quality, with scores ranging from 2 (I did OK) to 4 (almost perfect). M eans for Q uestions 3 and 4 were both 3.33. Table 4 1. Descriptive statistics of (N=6) Question How n ervous p re p erformance (1 low 4 very) How r elaxed post p erformance (1 low, 4 high) How prepared (pre p erformance) (1 low, 4 high) Performance self a ssess ment (1 low, 4 high) Mean 2.333 3.000 3.333 3.333 St. Dev. 1.033 0.894 0.516 0.816 The d ata was analyzed to help determine poss performance anxiety and how much additional experience or instruction students received. A nalysis, showed a positive correlation (r= 8 75 p=.022) between the a student felt before the performance. The remaining data failed to show statistically significant result s although some relationships were discovered There was an apparent correlation, for instance ( r =. 7 07 p=.1 16 ) between students who take private i nstruction and a higher level of

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23 self reported anxiety before a performance. There was no correlation between students participation in private lessons and how relaxed they felt after the performance, or how well prepared they felt they were for the perf ormance. There was a weak (r=.4 47 p=.37 4 ) correlation of students who take private lessons and a positive reaction to the performance quality. Students with more years of experience tended to be less anxious before the performance ( r= .6 88 p=.13 1 ) and to be more relaxed afterward (r=.65 0 p=.16 3 ) Students who felt more prepared on the music also appeared less anxious before the performance (r=.625, p=.185 Analysis of data from the standpoint of performing experience outside of school did not show an y significant corr elations to anxiety, feelings of preparedness or positive performance s Table 4 2. Correlations: Private instruction and years studied with anxiety before performance, relaxation after performance, preparation, and self assess ment (N=6) Question Anxiety p re p erf Relax p ost p erf How well prepared Self a ssess q uality Variable r p r p r p R P Private 0.707 0.116 0.000 1.0 0.000 1.0 0.447 0.374 Years 0.688 0.131 0.650 0.163 0.875 0.022 0.079 0.882 All adjudication scores wer e equal for each of the six students. Each student were all identical, no correlation could be calculated when using the score data.

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24 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS Discussion G iven the small sample size, the results of this study are, for the most part, not statistically significant. The results do, however, give some insight into the middle There was no dec isive, statistically significant answer to the first research question, although the data did indicate the possibility of a higher feeling of anxiety for students who take private lessons. Within the study population, students who received private instruc tion reported they were more nervous than those who did not take private lessons. This does not seem to agree with conventional wisdom. It would seem that the additional preparation and experience gained through private instruction would help decrease an xiety, not increase it as was seen in the study. Perha ps the students fe l t that the expectations of others (teachers, peers) may be higher since they receive additional instruction compared to other students which in turn may increas e the perceived anxie ty level before performance. Alternately, through increased in depth learning, they need to in order to perform. Kokotsaki and Davidson (2003) found similar results with collegiate music students with differing experience levels. Hamann (1985), too, found that more experienced students with higher anxiety levels tended to have better performances. The second research question focused on whether performance quality was affected by anxiety. No correlation was found, either in assessment after the performance or in the adjudicated scores as all six students received identical

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25 scores The scoring system used for solo performances at solo and ensemble assessment uses a five point grading scale that is somewhat subjective in nature. In addition, there was no way to control whether one adjudicator listened to all six participants, or that the material performed was consistent or level appropriate for the students. This may explain the fact that all six students received the same score on the performance, although there may be significant performance quality differences for each student. Using the data collected, there may be a relationship between the number of years a student studies an instrument and the decrease in anxiety levels the student feels both before and after a performance. This indicates that private instruction and experience may not have the same effect on anxiety. Additionally, it appears that as a s tudent gains experience, he or she may gain confidence in his or her performance preparation. Along with ensuring that students continue to participate in music courses, encouraging students to participate in groups outside of school may help to build a s students gain confidence in future performances. Implications for Music Educators and Future Research Questions The initial idea for this study came from the realization that there was no published literature that dealt with performance anxiety in middle school or even high school music students. The literature is full of studies examining a population of collegiate or even professional musicians. Any data from younger populations is anecdotal. As the resear ch progressed, and the research questions developed, an interest in exploring a

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26 emerged. Although all of these things were examined, b ased on the results of this study, there appears to be a need for future exploration. For instance, it would likely be more useful to music educators to attempt this study with a larger population. Future studies may be able to better control the adjudicator variable as well as ensuring the st udents all perform the same material, t hereby avoiding adjudicator bias in the scoring system. It may be interesting to examine the relationship between experience and anxiety more fully, perhaps with a longitudinal study t racking students through middle and high school. The middle school students who received additional instruction seemed more ner vous before the performance than those who do not. It would be interesting to examine this more fully to determine why this is the case. Although statistically there is not much significance to the data, there is a great searching for more ways to help students in their pursuits of excellence. All of the stronger correlations h ad very lo w probability values, although most were above the p=.05 test of statistical significance. This shows there is some significance to the results, at least within this small sample size. For instance, the relatively strong negative correlation b before the performance does suggest that students will begin to feel less anxious as they gain experience performing. Additionally, the data suggests that students who felt more prepared tende d to feel less anxious before the performance, leading to the conclusion that the more prepared a student feels, the less anxious s/he may feel.

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27 Music educators may be able to apply this data to classrooms by encourag ing students to continue with diligent preparation before a performance, or by being sure to tell students that the feelings of anxiety may get better the more they perform. While anxiety, it may continue t o be a valuable resource for classroom music teachers in certain circumstances. Futur e research questions and study topics could include: Replication of the study utilizing a larger population A longitudinal study exploring middle and high school student anxiety as students gain experience Do students who receive private instruction feel more anxiety, and what is the cause of this phenomenon?

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28 APPENDIX A IRB APPROVAL AND CON SENT FORMS

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31 APPENDIX B QUESTIONNAIRE Survey Questionnaire Pl ease answer the following questions on this paper. You may write on this page. You do not need to answer any questions you do not want to. Section I Name: School: Grade: ID# (on index card) Do you take private lessons outsid e of school? Y / N How long have you played your instrument?(years) 1 2 3 4 more than 4 Do you perform in any other groups outside of school? Y / N (i.e. youth orchestra, church orchestra, etc.) Section II Circle the mos t appropriate response 1) Before your performance, how nervous did you feel? 1 2 3 4 Not at all A little bit I was nervous I was very nervous 2) Right after your performance, how relaxed did you feel? 1 2 3 4 Not at all A little bit I was pretty re laxed Very relaxed 3) How prepared did you feel you were for your solo performance? 1 2 3 4 Not at all Somewhat prepared Prepared Very prepared 4) How well do you feel you performed your solo? 1 2 3 4 Not well I did OK I played well Almost perfec t

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32 LIST OF REFERENCES Abel, J. L., & Larkin, K. T. (1990). Anticipation of performance among musicians: Physiological arousal, confidence, and state anxiety. Psychology of Music, 18 (2), 171 182. Cooper, C. L., & Wills, G. I. D. (1989). Popular musicia ns under pressure. Psychology of Music, 17 (1), 22 36. Dews, C. L. B., & Williams, M. S. (1989). Student musicians' personality styles, stresses, and coping patterns. Psychology of Music, 17 (1), 37 47. Ely, M. C. (1991). Stop performance anxiety! Music Educators Journal, 78 (2), 35 39. Fogle, D. O. (1982). Toward effective treatment for music performance anxiety. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 19 (3), 368 375. Hamann, D. L. (1982). An assessment of anxiety in instrumental and vocal perform ances. Journal of Research in Music Education, 30 (2), 77 90. Hamann, D. L. (1985). The other side of stage fright. Music Educators Journal, 71 (8), 26 28. Hamann, D. L., & Sobaje, M. (1983). Anxiety and the college musician: A study of performance condi tions and subject variables. Psychology of Music, 11 (1), 37 50. Kirchner, J. (2005). Managing musical performance anxiety. American Music Teacher, 54 (3), 31 33. Kokotsaki, D., & Davidson, J. W. (2003). Investigating musical performance anxiety among mu sic college singing students: A quantitative analysis. Music Education Research, 5 (1), 45. LeBlanc, A., Jin, Y. C., Obert, M., & Siivola, C. (1997). Effect of audience on music performance anxiety. Journal of Research in Music Education, 45 (3), 480 496. Lee, S. (2002). Musician's performance anxiety and coping strategies. American Music Teacher, 52 (1), 36 39, 95. Leglar, M. A. (1978). Measurement of indicators of anxiety levels under varying conditions of musical performance. (Ph.D., Indiana Universit y Bloomington ). Lehrer, P. M. (1987). A review of the approaches to the management of tension and stage fright in music performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 35 (3), 143 153.

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33 McCarthy, J. F. (1980). Individualized instruction, student ac hievement, and dropout in an urban elementary instrumental music program. Journal of Research in Music Education, 28 (1), 59 69. Morgan, E. (1975). Music: A weapon against anxiety. Music Educators Journal, 61 (5), 38 91. Nagel, J. J. (1990). Performance anxiety and the performing musician: A fear of failure or a fear of success? Medical Problems of Performing Artists 5(1), 37 40. Nagel, J. J., Himle, D. P., & Papsdorf, J. D. (1989). Cognitive behavioural treatment of musical performance anxiety. Psychol ogy of Music, 17 (1), 12 21. Orman, E. K. (2003). Effect of virtual reality graded exposure on heart rate and self reported anxiety levels of performing saxophonists. Journal of Research in Music Education, 51 (4), 302 315. Petrovich, A. (2004). Peforma nce anxiety: How teachers can help. American Music Teacher, 53 (3), 24 27. Rutkowski, J (1996). The effectiveness of individual/s mall group singing activities on kindergartners' use of singing voice and developmental music aptitude. Journal of Research i n Music Education, 44 (4), 353 368. Savage, D. (2009). An answer to performance anxiety. American Music Teacher, 58 (4), 26 29. Steptoe, A. (1982). Performance anxiety. recent developments in its analysis and management. The Musical Times, 123 (1674), 537 541. Steptoe, A. (1989). Stress, coping and stage fright in professional musicians. Psychology of Music, 17 (1), 3 11. Sternbach, D. J. (2008). Stress in the lives of music students. Music Educators Journal, 94 (3), 42 48. Taborsky, C. (2007). Musical performance anxiety: A review of literature. UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, 26 (1), 15 25. Tartalone, P. M. (1992). Patterns of performance anxiety among university musicians preparing for brass area jury recitals: Physiological aro usal and perceived state anxiety. (Ph.D., Michigan State University Lansing ). 248. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999). Mental health: A report of the surgeon general chapter 4 Retrieved 11/11/2009, from

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34 http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter4/sec2_1.html Washington, D.C. Wardle, A. (1969). Behavioral modification by reciprocal inhibition of instrumental music pe rformance anxiety. (Ph.D., The Florida State University Tallahassee). 88.

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35 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Paul Jackson is currently a middle and high school orchestra director in the Brevard County, Florida public schools. Mr. Jackson also teaches middle scho ol percussion and guitar as a part of his teaching dut ies. He received his Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude, in Instrumental Music Education and Violin Performance from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Mr. Jackson performs as a freelance violinist t hroughout C entral Florida, and as a part of the Jackson Trio with his wife and sister. He also enjoys hobbies including tinkering with electronics, audio production and recording, and model railroading.







EFFECT OF PRIVATE MUSIC INSTRUCTION ON MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENTS'
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE ANXIETY




















By

PAUL L. JACKSON


A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF MUSIC

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2009

































2009 Paul L. Jackson



























To my wife.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my wife, Mary, for her unending support through this effort. I

thank Dr. Timothy Brophy for all of his guidance and direction, and for heading the

Summer Master of Music Education program at the University of Florida. I wish to thank

Dr. Paul Richards for serving on my committee, and for his wonderful teaching for the

past two summers. Very special thanks go to the students who participated in this

study. Without them, this study would not have been possible.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ....... . ..................... ......... .......................... ............... 4

LIST O F TA BLES ............... ........ ................................................... ...... ........ 6

ABSTRACT ........... .... .. ..... ............................ ............... 7

1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................... ... ......... .................. 9

Introduction and Background ............................................... 9
Purpose of the Study ................ ........ ........ ............... 11
Research Questions ..................... .................................. 11
D e lim ita tio n s .............................................................................................. 1 2

2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ............................................... 13

Introduction ................... ........ ....................................13
Overview of Physiological Effects of Anxiety ............... ....... .. ............... .. 13
Effects of Anxiety on Performance Ability ........... ..................................... 14
Managing Performance Anxiety........... ......................................... 16
C hild develop ent and anxiety. ............... ................. ........... ........... ........ 16
Increased performance opportunities. .............. ......... .......... .......... 17
Coping with performance anxiety. .............. ......... ........ ............. 18
Effects of practice on anxiety ............................................. .............. ..... 18

3 M ETHO DO LOGY ............... ............................................................................. 20

Design......................... ...................... 20
P ro c e d u re ............. ......... .. .. ..... .... ........ ......... .......................................... 2 0

4 R E S U L T S ............. ......... .. .. ........ .. ......... .......... ......................................... 2 2

5 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS ...................... ......... ...... ............... 24

Discussion ............................. ..... ... ................ ........... ... ..... 24
Implications for Music Educators and Future Research Questions...................... 25

APPENDIX

A IRB APPROVAL AND CONSENT FORMS................................... .................... 28

B QUESTIONNAIRE ........... ........ .......... .. ........................... 31

LIST OF REFERENCES ........... ........ .......... .. .......................... 32

B IO G RA PH IC A L S K ETC H ...................... .. ............. .. ......................... ............... 35













LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1. Descriptive statistics of students' responses (N=6)....... ..... ......... ......... ............ 22

4-2. Correlations: Private instruction and years studied with anxiety prior to
performance, relaxation after performance, preparation, and self-assessment
(N = 6) ............................................................................................ 2 3









Abstract of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Music

EFFECT OF PRIVATE MUSIC INSTRUCTION ON MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENTS'
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE ANXIETY


By

Paul Jackson

December 2009

Chair: Timothy Brophy
Major: Music Education

Music educators often must find ways to deal with students' performance anxiety.

Little existing research is available to help guide music educators teaching

performance-based music courses at the middle-school level as they seek to effectively

reduce students' performance anxiety before a performance. Through this study,

potential relationships were explored to help determine whether students who receive

private instruction on a chosen instrument experience a higher or lower perceived level

of anxiety compared to peers who do not take private lessons. Additionally, students'

anxiety levels were compared to final performance ratings to examine how anxiety may

affect students' performance quality. Middle-school orchestra students (N=6) were

asked to complete a questionnaire after a graded solo performance. Using a four-part

Likert-type scale, the questionnaire included questions regarding the students' self-

reported anxiety, preparation, and self-assessment of the performance. Performance

experience was gauged by students' number of years playing an instrument, as well as

whether students perform outside of school.









Analysis of the data indicated a correlation between students' years of experience

and the level of preparedness felt before the performance. Additional correlations,

although not statistically significant (p>.05), indicated students who take private lessons

may also experience increased anxiety before a performance. Additional relationships

were discovered between students' years of experience and a decrease in anxiety

before the performance. Students with more experience also tend to feel more

prepared before the performance.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Introduction and Background

All performers, whether professional, amateur, or student, are subject to

performance anxiety, or "stage fright." Performance anxiety affects each individual

differently, and each individual deals with it in different ways. Even seasoned

professional musicians may have difficulty dealing with this stress. Middle- and high-

school-aged students seem to be more often and more severely affected by

performance anxiety, possibly due to the lack of experience in dealing with the added

stress of performance, and the lack of technical development of skills to perform at the

level they believe necessary for a "good" performance (Sternbach, 2008).

Depending on the individual situation, students may experience positive or

negative effects on performance when feeling particularly anxious (Ely, 1991). Some

individuals thrive on this pressure, and are even able to perform at a higher level than

usual, particularly those with more playing experience and higher levels of training

(Hamann, 1982; Hamann & Sobaje, 1983). For others, anxiety has a negative effect on

the person's eventual musical performance. In fact, some individuals are so severely

affected with anxiety before a performance that it can be debilitating (Ely, 1991).

Understanding the effects of anxiety on students' performance quality is particularly

important for music educators who work to present public performances that are

excellent in quality, not only for the total ensemble, but for each individual within the

ensemble. Learning ways to control students' performance anxiety is of paramount

importance. Ely (1991) writes, "to increase the likelihood of achieving outstanding









musical performances, we must find ways to control the debilitating effects of anxiety"

(p. 35).

In middle-school music students, there is often a reaction of extreme nervousness

before each concert performed throughout the year. One of the tasks for music

educators is to help students work through these feelings of anxiety that seem to appear

immediately before a performance. Each teacher has developed a mental toolkit full of

ideas and methods to help students through these situations. For some teachers,

simply talking with the students about the anxious feelings may be effective, helping

them understand that it is completely natural to feel that way. Others may use humor or

different visualization strategies. Teachers may also use examples of personal

experience to help students understand methods of alleviating anxiety. Occasionally,

students' problems may require the teacher to develop new strategies.

Often, the first reaction from students experiencing anxiety before a concert is

expressing that the performance will go poorly. When talking with the students, the

teacher can develop an understanding of the situation, and the cause for this attitude

can often be determined. More often than not, it seems students react this way

because they do not feel adequately prepared, either as individuals or for the entire

group. Occasionally, the student's feeling about preparedness is grounded in the fact

that he or she simply lacks performance experience or has not developed adequate

techniques because of his or her age. A lack of personal time practicing the music

being performed may also be a factor. For those students feeling inadequately

prepared, one could reason that giving additional instruction to a student may help to

alleviate these feelings.









While music educators strive to provide opportunities for students to receive

additional help on their music, there is often not enough time in the day. Music teachers

often have multiple schools to service, or may be required to work on large-group issues

rather than finding time to assist individuals. There also may be too many students

requiring the teacher's assistance with technique to allow the teacher adequate time to

introduce strategies to alleviate stress for the additional teaching time spent to be

effective. In those cases, private instruction from a tutor outside of school is often

recommended by the teacher, and can be an effective tool for learning music and for

mastering technique. Private tutors also can provide additional performance

opportunities and help students improve technical skills on a musical instrument, which

may in turn help the student learn to control his or her performance anxiety.

Purpose of the Study

Music educators who teach performance-based classes in middle school have

many roles to play. It can be difficult to find effective ways to manage all of the tasks

that must be completed. One focus of music educators is to produce an effective and

satisfying performance event. Students in music ensembles with little performing

experience may often feel more anxiety than students with higher levels of experience,

which may affect the quality of the students' performance. The purpose of this study

was to determine the effect that additional instruction from a private instructor may have

on the level of students' perceived performance anxiety, and in turn, the effect of anxiety

on the final performance product.

Research Questions

Studies have been conducted to examine the effects of performance anxiety on

students. Some researchers have sought to help alleviate the effects, giving students a









higher level of comfort while performing, allowing them to potentially perform at a higher

level. Hamann (1982) studied performance anxiety in collegiate music students,

searching for a relationship between a "subject's training and ability" (p. 80) and

performance quality under differing levels of anxiety. While the purpose of this study is

not to manipulate the performer's anxiety level, questions similar to those in Hamann's

study are raised:

1. Do students who receive private instruction experience different levels of
performance anxiety than those who do not?

2. Does a student's level of anxiety before a performance affect the final quality of the
performance?

Delimitations

No attempt was made in this study to determine whether students received any

instruction from teachers (either private instructors or classroom music teachers), peers,

or parents regarding techniques to help manage anxiety related to a musical

performance. Additionally, this study did not control for other variables including the

number of times a student has performed a solo, or how many times a student has

participated in an adjudicated audition or performance.









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Introduction

Numerous studies discuss the human response to stress, including several that

particularly address music performance anxiety. The focus of many of the studies was

performance anxiety in music students, and ways in which music educators may be

able to alleviate the stress levels of students under their supervision.

The following literature review is divided up into several sections: an overview of

the physiological effects of anxiety, studied effects of anxiety on performance ability,

and methods of managing the effects of performance anxiety.

Overview of Physiological Effects of Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are often considered detrimental to performance, whether

musical or otherwise. When confronted with a stressful situation, the brain transmits

warning signals via the autonomic nervous system as the body prepares for the

impending threat. This reaction is referred to as the acute stress response or the "fight

or flight" response, which triggers certain predictable physiological reactions throughout

several of the body's systems. When performing in front of an audience, performers

may experience symptoms of this response as the body tries to deal with this perceived

threat of public performance.

Upon acknowledgement of a threat, the body reacts with "an almost instantaneous

surge in heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, breathing, and metabolism, and a tensing

of muscles" (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services). As Lee (2002) reports, "an

awareness of some danger causes fearful thoughts that trigger sweaty palms, dry

mouth or trembling hands, that, in turn, cause behavioral responses such as missing









notes and forgetting words" (p.38). Abel (1990) adds that not only are there the

physiological effects listed above, but also "negative cognitions including apprehension

and fear of making mistakes" and a "decrease in performance quality when playing in

front of others (e.g. trembling bow hand, memory slips) compared to playing alone"

(p.171). Steptoe (1982) offers similar information. These are examples of the fight or

flight response that individuals may face when experiencing performance anxiety.

Effects of Anxiety on Performance Ability

Ely (1991) documented the wide range of reactions in individuals to anxiety when

performing, both positive and negative. True, a vast array of the available research

shows that stress will likely create problems for performers, causing performances to be

less than stellar (Lee, 2002; Ely, 1991; Sternbach, 2008; Leglar, 1978). Hamann (1985)

mentions that some "research in the areas of anxiety reduction and musical

performance generally indicates that anxiety should be reduced for a musician to

perform at his or her optimum level" (p. 26). There is some research to the contrary,

however.

Against conventional wisdom, there are indications that anxiety may contribute to

positive performances, or even increased ability levels in some performers. Hamann

studied performance anxiety using the Trait-State Anxiety Theory. Essentially, the Trait-

State Anxiety Theory posits that two types of anxiety exist: one when a person is at rest,

referred to as "trait anxiety"; and "state anxiety" which is "a deviation from the normal or

trait level of anxiety or a transitory emotion that can vary from situation to situation"

(Hamann, 1985, p. 26). An individual with high trait anxiety will experience higher

increases in state anxiety than one with a low trait anxiety level. The theory also posits

that individuals with high-task mastery and high trait anxiety will benefit from increased









anxiety states, while individuals with low task-mastery skills and high trait anxiety will

not benefit from increased anxiety (Hamann, 1982, 1985).

Hamann (1982) found that individuals with higher levels of experience and ability

performed "in a superior manner under conditions of significantly increased anxiety

states" (p. 88). This gives credence to the assertion that more performing or additional

practice may help to alleviate anxiety, or at least help to decrease the number and

severity of errors due to the additional stress of performance. In addition to showing

that experienced students tend to perform well under pressure, Hamann (1985)

discovered that students with "low trait anxiety and low task-mastery skills performed

better than individuals with high trait anxiety and low task-mastery skills" (p.28).

Tartalone (1992) compared anxiety between different experience-level college

students performing a graded jury and found that the peak of anxiety symptoms

occurred "approximately six minutes into the performance and decreased steadily

afterwards" (p. 184), and that the more experienced performers had a more gradual

increase and decrease of heart rate than their less experienced counterparts. In

contrast, according to Kokotsaki and Davidson (2003), individuals with more experience

showed higher levels of anxiety before the performance than during the performance.

These individuals also seemed to have "better" performances, as anxiety levels peaked

prior to the actual performance. Regardless of when the anxiety peaks, the students

with higher task-mastery appear to perform at a higher level. Hamann (1985) concludes

that for students with "more years of formal or private study, the effects of anxiety tend

to enhance their performances" and "for musicians with low task-mastery skills, the

prudent approach would seem to be to undertake more formal training" (p.28). So how









can music educators help to ensure that developing musicians (those with low task

mastery) lower their anxiety levels to reduce the chances of hindering their

performance?

Managing Performance Anxiety

Music educators are on the front lines in the effort to help students overcome

performance anxiety. Several ideas are presented in the literature to assist teachers in

this task. Sternbach (2008) suggests that "one very direct way for music teachers to

help ease their students' stress is by cultivating a relaxed, humorous, and extroverted

style in ensemble rehearsals and lessons" (p.43) Sternbach also advises ways to help

students directly cope with the feelings of excitement or anxiety-the first feelings of

fight-or-flight: "They need to know it's ok to feel some edge before a performance-

sometimes a lot of edge. Performing can be a lot more appealing when there is the

excitement of eager anticipation" (p. 45). Perhaps we can best control performance

anxiety, or at least understand its origins if we take a trip backward, and re-examine

childhood.

Child development and anxiety. Children, particularly elementary-aged students,

often seem more at ease about performing. Ely (1991) supposes that performance

anxiety is at least somewhat a learned behavior, saying "it seems likely that our

tendency to experience anxiety when performing in public is learned. Evidence for this

belief is the fact that young children sing and dance in front of people with no fear

whatsoever. In fact, most young children get very excited about performing for others.

They simply love the attention" (p.36). Lee (2002) adds "public exhibition is natural to a

child at this phase" (p.37). Lee continues, noting that as we progress through

adolescence, "peer acceptance and criticism become more important than self-









acceptance" (p. 37). Essentially, as we age, we begin to feel anxiety as peer pressure

and the desire to "look good" overtakes our childish excitement to perform. We begin to

look at the audience as a potential threat, an enemy. Perhaps a way of eliminating or

controlling the effects of this stressor is to develop "an attitude of appreciating and

embracing the audience, instead of ignoring or fearing it" (Lee, p.37). Becoming more

accustomed to the performance situation through structured performance opportunities

may be helpful to students.

Increased performance opportunities. Kirchner (2005) and Petrovich (2004)

advocate frequent performances, including authentic simulations of performances to

help students prepare for "real" performances. Petrovich promotes a progressive

system of performances, starting small and very low-key, and progressively moving to

more difficult situations which more closely resemble the final performance situation.

Offering the students positive performance opportunities also appears to help. After a

performance in a master-class, for instance, students should be "evaluated with an

emphasis on positive, as well as negative, feedback, with attention to the students'

interpretation of the feedback" (Petrovich, 2004, p.26). Petrovich cautions that some

students may misinterpret any feedback as negative, despite a teacher's intentions to

provide constructive comments to help improve performance. Providing students

simulated, yet authentic performance opportunities may lead to reduced anxiety when

the actual performance time comes. Orman (2003) used virtual reality technology to

simulate stressful performance situations in a study with collegiate music students.

Each student was exposed to a series of virtual performance situations to determine

how exposure to these virtual environments would affect the subject's measured stress









levels. Orman discovered that once subjects experienced the same performance

situation twice, heart-rates and perceived anxiety levels decreased.

Coping with performance anxiety. Several authors and researchers have

examined coping strategies to assist in the management of performance anxiety: using

different relaxation techniques (Alexander Technique, deep breathing, etc.);

visualization; positive imagery and positive thinking; and cognitive therapy (Ely, 1991;

Kirchner, 2005). Many of these ideas can be used effectively by teachers in the

classroom. For instance, teaching students to effectively visualize a performance may

allow them to mentally prepare for the performing environment. Kirchner encourages

students to not only visualize the performance of an individual work on a program, but in

fact the entire program from start to finish. She writes, "this process may include

walking on the stage, sitting down at the piano and composing yourself, playing through

the program, having the audience favorably acknowledge the performance and walking

off the stage" (Kirchner, 2005, p. 32).

Effects of practice on anxiety. Despite having the best of intentions, teachers

are sometimes even to blame for their students' feelings of anxiousness, even when

trying to alleviate those anxious feelings. Taborsky (2007) summarizes that "student

musicians are often told that they will not feel the stress and anxiety of a performance if

they are well prepared on a given piece of music" (p. 15). Given the conclusions made

by Hamann after his studies in the early 1980s, some evidence supports that thought.

Perhaps the big push for additional practice may add a level of stress that may not help.

It may instead negatively affect the students' eventual performance. Additionally, the

way a student practices or one's attitude while playing may affect his or her anxiety level









(Dews, 1989). Sternbach (2008) warns that "excessive self-criticism in practicing can

be a predisposing factor for performance anxiety" (p.44).

Ely (1991) reminds us that "it is a good idea to distribute your practicing over a

period of time rather than cramming hours of work in the last few days" and to "try to

practice the music the way you will be performing it, even though you are not giving a

public performance" (p. 39). Sternbach (2008) points out that "musicians are taught to

be highly self-responsible" (p. 44). Because of this, students may end up over-

practicing, and possibly setting a student up for additional self-blame that will affect later

performances, "even when circumstances in a performance are outside the performer's

control" (Sternbach, 2008, p. 44). Part of the responsibility of music educators is

instructing and coaching students on practicing techniques that may help them learn

their music without undue stress.









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Design

This study was a non-experimental descriptive study. The study took place during

district Solo and Ensemble Music Performance Assessment in November of 2009. The

population consisted of seventh- and eighth-grade students from several middle schools

within the district. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire after their

performance. The questionnaire focused on several points:

* Grade level
* Length of study on instrument
* Participation in private lessons
* Participation in performances other than school
* Anxiety level before and after performance
* Student's perception of preparedness and performance quality


Questions regarding anxiety, preparation and performance quality were measured using

a fully-anchored four-point Likert-type scale. In addition, final adjudicated scores from

the students' performances were collected to allow comparison with data collected from

the questionnaires.

Procedure

Principals of middle schools selected to participate were contacted via email

inviting them to take part in the study. Nine schools were chosen randomly from a total

of sixteen in the district, and did not include the researcher's own school. Of the nine

schools selected, four responded by the deadline with willingness to participate. From

the four participating schools, parent consent was received for six students, all of whom

elected to participate in the study. Parent consent and student assent forms are found

in Appendix A. The students who took part in this study all performed solos at a solo









and ensemble assessment in the district. Once the students finished their

performances, they were given questionnaires. The form included questions regarding

the students' self-reported anxiety, preparation, self-assessment of the performance,

and private instruction; and questions about performance experience. Regarding

anxiety levels, students were asked to rate both the level of anxiety before the

performance and the level of relaxation after the performance. Performance experience

was queried via students' number of years playing an instrument, as well as whether

students perform outside of school.









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Of the six students, three students reported that they receive private instruction;

three do not. The students' range of experience runs from only two years of playing to

over four. Two of the students perform in ensembles outside of their school

responsibilities. Most of the students felt prepared for their performances, and all but

one student felt that they played well on their solo. When asked Question 1, "before the

performance, how nervous did you feel", scores ranged from 1 (not at all) to 3 (very

nervous), with a mean score of 2.33. Student responses to Question 2, which gauged

relaxation after the performance, elicited responses ranging from 2 (a little bit) to 4 (very

relaxed), with a mean of 3.00. Student responses to Question 3 regarding preparation

included responses ranging from 3 (prepared) to 4 (very prepared). Question 4 was a

self-assessment of performance quality, with scores ranging from 2 (I did OK) to 4

(almost perfect). Means for Questions 3 and 4 were both 3.33.

Table 4-1. Descriptive statistics of students' responses (N=6)
Question How nervous pre- How relaxed post- How prepared Performance self-
performance performance (pre-performance) assessment
(1-low, 4-very) (1-low, 4-high) (1-low, 4-high) (1-low, 4-high)
Mean 2.333 3.000 3.333 3.333
St. Dev. 1.033 0.894 0.516 0.816

The data was analyzed to help determine possible relationships between students'

performance anxiety and how much additional experience or instruction students

received. Analysis, showed a positive correlation (r=.875, p=.022) between the

students' years of experience and the level of preparedness a student felt before the

performance. The remaining data failed to show statistically significant results, although

some relationships were discovered. There was an apparent correlation, for instance,

(r-. 707, p=. 116) between students who take private instruction and a higher level of









self-reported anxiety before a performance. There was no correlation between

students' participation in private lessons and how relaxed they felt after the

performance, or how well prepared they felt they were for the performance. There was

a weak (r=.447, p=.374) correlation of students who take private lessons and a positive

reaction to the performance quality.

Students with more years of experience tended to be less anxious before the

performance (r--.688, p=.131), and to be more relaxed afterward (r=.650, p=.163).

Students who felt more prepared on the music also appeared less anxious before the

performance (r=.625, p=. 185. Analysis of data from the standpoint of performing

experience outside of school did not show any significant correlations to students'

anxiety, feelings of preparedness or positive performances.

Table 4-2. Correlations: Private instruction and years studied with anxiety
beforeperformance, relaxation after performance, preparation, and self-
assessment (N=6)
Question Anxiety pre-perf. Relax post-perf How well prepared Self-assess quality
Variable r p r p r p R P
Private 0.707 0.116 0.000 1.0 0.000 1.0 0.447 0.374
Years -0.688 0.131 0.650 0.163 0.875 0.022 0.079 0.882

All adjudication scores were equal for each of the six students. Each student

received a rating of "Superior," the highest rating available for a solo. As the scores

were all identical, no correlation could be calculated when using the score data.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION OF RESULTS

Discussion

Given the small sample size, the results of this study are, for the most part, not

statistically significant. The results do, however, give some insight into the middle

school music student's reaction to performance anxiety.

There was no decisive, statistically significant answer to the first research

question, although the data did indicate the possibility of a higher feeling of anxiety for

students who take private lessons. Within the study population, students who received

private instruction reported they were more nervous than those who did not take private

lessons. This does not seem to agree with conventional wisdom. It would seem that

the additional preparation and experience gained through private instruction would help

decrease anxiety, not increase it as was seen in the study. Perhaps the students felt

that the expectations of others (teachers, peers) may be higher since they receive

additional instruction compared to other students, which in turn may increase the

perceived anxiety level before performance. Alternately, through increased, in-depth

learning, they may simply become aware that they don't necessarily know everything

they need to in order to perform. Kokotsaki and Davidson (2003) found similar results

with collegiate music students with differing experience levels. Hamann (1985), too,

found that more experienced students with higher anxiety levels tended to have better

performances.

The second research question focused on whether performance quality was

affected by anxiety. No correlation was found, either in students' self-assessment after

the performance or in the adjudicated scores, as all six students received identical









scores. The scoring system used for solo performances at solo and ensemble

assessment uses a five-point grading scale that is somewhat subjective in nature. In

addition, there was no way to control whether one adjudicator listened to all six

participants, or that the material performed was consistent or level-appropriate for the

students. This may explain the fact that all six students received the same score on the

performance, although there may be significant performance quality differences for each

student.

Using the data collected, there may be a relationship between the number of years

a student studies an instrument and the decrease in anxiety levels the student feels

both before and after a performance. This indicates that private instruction and

experience may not have the same effect on anxiety. Additionally, it appears that as a

student gains experience, he or she may gain confidence in his or her performance

preparation. Along with ensuring that students continue to participate in music courses,

encouraging students to participate in groups outside of school may help to build a

student's experience level, and in turn, help students gain confidence in future

performances.

Implications for Music Educators and Future Research Questions

The initial idea for this study came from the realization that there was no published

literature that dealt with performance anxiety in middle-school or even high-school

music students. The literature is full of studies examining a population of collegiate or

even professional musicians. Any data from younger populations is anecdotal. As the

research progressed, and the research questions developed, an interest in exploring a

relationship between students' performance anxiety and performance quality also









emerged. Although all of these things were examined, based on the results of this

study, there appears to be a need for future exploration.

For instance, it would likely be more useful to music educators to attempt this

study with a larger population. Future studies may be able to better control the

adjudicator variable as well as ensuring the students all perform the same material,

thereby avoiding adjudicator bias in the scoring system. It may be interesting to

examine the relationship between experience and anxiety more fully, perhaps with a

longitudinal study tracking students through middle and high school. The middle-school

students who received additional instruction seemed more nervous before the

performance than those who do not. It would be interesting to examine this more fully

to determine why this is the case.

Although statistically there is not much significance to the data, there is a great

deal of "practical" significance to the results of this study. Educators are always

searching for more ways to help students in their pursuits of excellence. All of the

stronger correlations had very low probability values, although most were above the

p=.05 test of statistical significance. This shows there is some significance to the

results, at least within this small sample size. For instance, the relatively strong

negative correlation between students' years of experience and level of anxiety felt

before the performance does suggest that students will begin to feel less anxious as

they gain experience performing. Additionally, the data suggests that students who felt

more prepared tended to feel less anxious before the performance, leading to the

conclusion that the more prepared a student feels, the less anxious s/he may feel.









Music educators may be able to apply this data to classrooms by encouraging

students to continue with diligent preparation before a performance, or by being sure to

tell students that the feelings of anxiety may get better the more they perform. While

encouraging students' participation in private instruction does not appear to help with

anxiety, it may continue to be a valuable resource for classroom music teachers in

certain circumstances. Future research questions and study topics could include:

* Replication of the study utilizing a larger population

* A longitudinal study exploring middle- and high-school students' performance
anxiety as students gain experience

* Do students who receive private instruction feel more anxiety, and what is the
cause of this phenomenon?










APPENDIX A
IRB APPROVAL AND CONSENT FORMS
jpI Institutional Review Board PO Box 112250
UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
352-392-0433 (Phone)
352-392-9234 (Fax)
irb2rvufl.edu

DATE: November 25, 2009

TO: Paul Jackson



FROM: Ira S. Fischler, PhD; Chai fl
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02

SUBJECT: Approval of Protocol #2009-U-0922
The Effects of Private Music Instruction on Middle School Students' Musical
Performance Anxiety

SPONSOR: None

I am pleased to advise you that the University of Florida Institutional Review Board has
recommended approval of this protocol. Based on its review, the UFIRB determined that this
research presents no more than minimal risk to participants. Your protocol was approved as
an expedited study under category 7: Research on individual or group characteristics or
behavior (including, but not limited to, research on perception, cognition, motivation,
identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs or practices, and social behavior) or
research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human
factors evaluation, or quality assurance methodologies.

Given this status, it is essential that you obtain signed documentation of informed consent
from each participant. Enclosed is the dated, IRB-approved informed consent to be used when
recruiting participants for the research. If you wish to make any changes to this protocol,
including the need to increase the number of participants authorized, you must disclose your
plans before you implement them so that the Board can assess their impact on your protocol.
In addition, you must report to the Board any unexpected complications that affect your
participants.

It is essential that each of your participants sign a copy of your approved informed
consent that bears the IRB approval stamp and expiration date.


Your approval is valid through October 7. 2010. If you have not completed the protocol by
this date, please telephone our office (392-0433), and we will discuss the renewal process
with you. It is important that you keep your Department Chair informed about the status of
this research protocoL

ISF:dl





An Equal Opportunity Institution









Dear Parent/Guardian,


I am a graduate student in the Music Department at the University of Florida, as well as a
music teacher in the Brevard Public Schools, and I am conducting a research study on
performance anxiety in music students. The purpose of this study is to explore whether
private instruction has an effect on the anxiety students feel when performing.
Additionally, data will be collected to determine whether students' anxiety has an effect
on performance quality. Information gained from this study may help music educators in
the future as we seek to help students deal with the stresses of performance. With your
permission, I would like to ask your student to volunteer for this study.

Participants of this study will be middle-school students performing in a solo
performance situation. Following the performance, participants will fill out a short
questionnaire gauging his/her anxiety level. The questionnaire will also ask whether
students receive private instruction. Participants are not required to answer all survey
questions if they do not wish to. Additional data will be collected from the results of the
audition to determine whether students' anxiety has an effect on final performance
quality. Although students will be asked to provide identifying information including
name and school for data matching use, all personal data will be kept confidential. All
names will be replaced with code numbers. Participation will not affect your student's
grade on the performance. Additionally, no student grades will be affected.

You and your student have the right to withdraw from this study at any time without
consequence. There is no known consequence or benefit to participation in this study,
and there is no compensation offered for participation. If you have any questions about
this study, please contact me at (321) 243-5987 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Timothy
Brophy at (352) 273-3193. Any questions or concerns about your students' rights as a
participant in this study can be directed to the IRB02 office, PO Box 112250, University
of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250, or by calling (352) 392-0433.

Sincerely,


Paul L. Jackson

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child,
to participate in Mr. Jackson's study of performance anxiety. I
have received a copy of this description.


Parent / Guardian Date


2nd Parent / Witness Date

Approved by
University of Florida
institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2009-U-0922
For Use Through 1007-2010









Student Assent Form


Mr. Jackson is a graduate student at the University of Florida. He is studying the audition
and performance process in middle-school music students, and you are invited to
participate. If you decide to participate, you will be asked to complete a survey after you
finish your performance. This survey will ask about how you felt before and after the
performance as well as whether you take private lessons. Mr. Jackson will also compare
your survey results to the judged results of your performance.

There is no known risk to participants in this study, and your participation in the survey
will not affect your score on your performance. Participation will not affect your grades
in your orchestra class. You do not have to participate in this study if you do not wish to,
and you may quit at any time. Other than Mr. Jackson, no one will see your survey
answers. Whatever you decide, your grades and results will not be affected. Your
parent/guardian said it would be OK for you to participate. Would you like to participate
in this study?

SYes, I am willing to participate in this study.

SNo, I am not willing to participate in this study.




Student Signature Date




Approved by
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2009-U-0922
For Use Through 1
rough Z1









APPENDIX B
QUESTIONNAIRE


Survey Questionnaire
Please answer the following questions on this paper. You may write on this page. You do not
need to answer any questions you do not want to.

Section I

Name:

School:

Grade:

ID# (on index card)

Do you take private lessons outside of school? Y / N

How long have you played your instrument?(years) 1 2 3 4 more than 4

Do you perform in any other groups outside of school? Y / N (i.e. youth orchestra,
church orchestra, etc.)

Section II
Circle the most appropriate response

1) Before your performance, how nervous did you feel?

1 2 3 4
Not at all A little bit I was nervous I was very nervous

2) Right after your performance, how relaxed did you feel?

1 2 3 4
Not at all A little bit I was pretty relaxed Very relaxed

3) How prepared did you feel you were for your solo performance?

1 2 3 4
Not at all Somewhat Prepared Very prepared
prepared

4) How well do you feel you performed your solo?

1 2 3 4
Not well I did OK I played well Almost perfect









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Paul Jackson is currently a middle- and high-school orchestra director in the

Brevard County, Florida public schools. Mr. Jackson also teaches middle-school

percussion and guitar as a part of his teaching duties. He received his Bachelor of

Music degree, cum laude, in Instrumental Music Education and Violin Performance from

Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Mr. Jackson performs as a freelance violinist

throughout Central Florida, and as a part of the Jackson Trio with his wife and sister.

He also enjoys hobbies including tinkering with electronics, audio production and

recording, and model railroading.