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Title: Beyond anxiety : inspiration, connection and joy in music performance
Author: Perdomo-Guevara, Elsa
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 0169
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Research on emotion in performance has mainly investigated anxiety, while little is known about performance-related joy. This research aimed to identify factors associated with enjoyment of performance, and design an intervention that would increase performers’ joy in performing. It included an Exploratory Study (an on-line survey) investigating the performance experiences of a large population of musicians (N = 625), and an Intervention Project comprising an on-line course. The Exploratory Study showed that performers had different, coherent narratives about performance, that were associated with the groups to which they belonged (i.e. classical or non-classical; students, professionals or amateurs), and that predicted the overall quality of their performance experiences. Notably, the ‘people-oriented’ narratives appeared to both promote ‘highly enjoyable’ and prevent ‘stressful’ performances. The intervention sought to enhance performance experiences by enabling performers to cultivate a more self-transcendent approach to performance, and design performance- related narratives that they viewed as personally meaningful and inspiring. The impacts of the intervention were investigated using one pre- and two post-intervention questionnaires in which performers were asked to describe and explain their last ‘highly enjoyable’ performance. Compared to their pre-intervention scores, three months after the intervention, the participants scored significantly higher in performance-related joy, self-confidence and inspiration; they reported reduced anxiety, improved quality of performance, deeper connection with the audience, and an increased appreciation for the value of music and the privilege of being a performer. The findings suggest that performance-related emotions are socio-culturally shaped; that music institutions may be partly responsible for the high prevalence of MPA among musicians, and should therefore be involved in enhancing performance experiences; and that short interventions can succeed in increasing the meaningfulness of the performers’ narratives, reducing their anxiety and rendering their experience more enjoyable.
Supervisor: Dibben, Nicola Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available