Abel - Anticipation of Performance Among Musicians

September 2, 2017 | Author: Ian Feenstra | Category: Heart Rate, Anxiety, Sexual Arousal, Blood Pressure, Validity (Statistics)
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© 1990 by the Society for Research in Psychology of Music and Music Education

Psychology of Music, 1990,18,171-182

Anticipation of Performance Among Musicians: Physiological Arousal, Confidence, and State-Anxiety JENNIFER L. ABEL and KEVIN T. LARKIN Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Box 6040, Morgantown, WV 26506 Physiological responses (heart rate and blood pressure) and self-report measures of state-anxiety and confidence were obtained in 22 student musicians during a baseline-laboratory session and before a jury. All participants exhibited increased heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and self-reported anxiety from the laboratory to the jury. Males exhibited higher systolic blood pressure increases prior to the jury compared to females, but females exhibited higher self-reported anxiety than males. Additionally, females reported increased confidence prior to the jury and males did not. Individuals with higher heart rate increases before the jury reported less confidence and somewhat higher self-reported anxiety.

Performance anxiety among musicians typically refers to a configuration of symptoms including: (1) excessive physiological arousal (e.g. increased heart rate, dry mouth, sweaty palms), (2) negative cognitions including apprehension and fear of making mistakes, and (3) decrease in performance quality when playing in front of others (e.g. trembling bow hand, memory slips) compared to playing alone. Performance anxiety among musicians is quite common, with prevalence estimates ranging from 25% to 50% (Fishbein and Middlestadt, 1988; Steptoe and Fidler, 1987). Investigations regarding the phenomenon of performance anxiety in musicians have largely employed self-report measures to determine the degree of distress a musician experiences prior to, during, and following his or her performance (e.g. Fishbein and Middlestadt, 1988). Questionnaires assessing performance anxiety have included measures of confidence, general anxiety, and state-anxiety (i.e. discomfort recorded during a specified time) (e.g. Appel, 1974; Craske and Craig, 1984; Steptoe and Fidler, 1987). Studies have indicated that high levels of self-reported performance anxiety are related to low levels of confidence (Craske and Craig, 1984). While studies of this nature have provided important information regarding performance anxiety, very little attention has been given to concomitant physiological indicators of anxiety or observable performance errors. Given the importance of conducting a multimodal assessment typically employed in anxiety research in general (Lang, 1971), and recent findings that suggest cognitive anxiety, physiological arousal, and behavioural symptoms of anxiety (e.g. performance errors) covary indirectly (e.g. Karteroliotis and Gill, 1987; McLeod, HoehnSaric and Stefan, 1986; Waal-Manning, Knight, Spears and Paulin, 1986), it has become increasingly important to develop assessment strategies that tap several response domains. Therefore, in addition to examining self-reported 171 from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.


Jennifer L. Abel and Kevin T. Larkin

anxiety, it has become important to examine both physiological and behavioural components of performance anxiety in order to develop more appropriate treatment plans for performance-anxious musicians. Only two studies have employed a multimodal assessment of performance anxiety. Kendrick, Craig, Lawson and Davidson (1982) examined a group of 53 piano students identified by their teachers as having extreme performance anxiety. These musicians displayed significant heart rate increases, high selfreported anxiety and frequent performance errors when asked to perform J piece of music for an audience. Increases in confidence following treatment of performance anxiety were associated with lower heart rates and less performance errors. However, because this was a treatment study, no comparisons were made with non-anxious musicians and relationships between the response domains were not examined. In another study, Craske and Craig (1984) examined 40 piano students who were (1) judged by their teachers to have attained proficiency for solo performance and (2) judged to be either "relatively anxious" or "relatively non-anxious", based on self-reported anxiety. These groups did not differ on performance quality during practice, but anxious individuals performed more poorly in front of an audience than non-anxious students. During audience performance, heart rate increased significantly among both groups, while selfreported anxiety increased only among high anxious individuals. As with other investigations of anxiety, intercorrelations among dependent variables did not reveal significant relationships between self-report, physiological, and behavioural components of anxiety. Sex differences also emerged in that females exhibited greater self-reported state anxiety, higher skin conductance responses, and greater increases in respiration than males. In response to the paucity of studies examining physiological measures of anxiety and sex differences in performance anxiety, the purposes of the present study were (1) to examine the degree of physiological arousal and self-reported anxiety among musicians prior to an actual musical performance. (2) to determine whether response patterns differ between male and female musicians, and (3) to examine the relationship between self-report measures related to performance anxiety and physiological indicators of performance anxiety. Previous investigations of performance anxiety have typically employed a contrived performance by creating a small audience of fellow students or musical experts to elicit anxiety. While these studies are useful in that they allow assessment to occur during the actual performance, they are somewhat less threatening because consequences that may occur in real life, such as receiving a grade, completing course requirements, or being observed by large audiences, are absent. In the present study, a natural task that was required for all participants, a graded performance jury. was utilised to examine performance anxiety. Unfortunately, the nature of juries prohibited assessment of cardiovascular variables during the task for a number of reasons. First, assessment procedures (e.g. inflation of the blood pressure cuff) may have influenced the participant's performance by distracting them from the task at hand, namely to perform adequately during their jury. Second, a great deal of movement is often

Sex Differences in Performance Anxiety


required in musical performance making measurement of cardiovascular parameters difficult and prone to error. Additionally, HR in musicians has been shown to be affected by the tempo of the music such that it tends to match the beat (Landreth and Landreth, 1974; Radocy and Boyle, 1979), and there is some evidence that cardiovascular parameters correlate with affective changes that occur in response to music (Radocy and Boyle, 1979). Consequently, the present study measured anticipatory anxiety (i.e. increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and self-report state anxiety) immediately prior to the jury. Method

Subjects and Design Twenty-two undergraduate music students served as participants in the study: eight males and 14 females. Subjects ranged in age from 18 to 23 and their average age was 19·5 years. All of the participants were attending West Virginia University School of Music and were enrolled in private lessons for which they were required to complete a jury performance. Students were recruited through information given to them prior to a musical convocation and rehearsals of the University Choir and the University Orchestra. Involvement was voluntary and participants were offered either treatment for performance anxiety or five dollars in exchange for their participation; 14 requested treatment (five males and nine females). Subjects taking betablocking or anxiolytic medication at the time of the study, either for medicinal purposes or to reduce anxiety prior to their performance, were excluded, as were individuals taking cold medicine, cardiovascular, and asthma (sympathomimetic) medications. Smokers were eliminated from the study. Participants were asked to refrain from drinking caffeine three hours prior to assessments and to refrain from vigorous exercise for an hour before both sessions. All subjects participated in two sessions, a baseline-laboratory session and a session in the Creative Arts Center just prior to the jury performance. The baseline-laboratory session provided information on resting physiological levels and subjective anxiety at a time in the semester when jury performances were not being conducted. The jury session was conducted between one and six weeks (Mean = 3·5) after the baseline-laboratory session. The Jury Performance The jury consisted of performing music prepared and chosen by the participants and their private teachers for the occasion. Students were assigned a time slot in advance, which ranged from 10 to 30 minutes depending upon the instrument they played. Each student performed in front of two-seven professors or assistant professors who teach the instrument or a similar instrument at the university. The jurors' impressions determined whether each student moved up in the level system; they could be moved up half a level or more than one level and could also be moved down. All participants must reach a particular level in order to graduate, therefore quality of performance was extremely important to participants. Assessment occurred prior to the jury performance; participants were assured that they


Jennifer L. Abel and Kevin T. Larkin

would be excused no later than ten minutes prior to their scheduled jury time so that fear of being late to the jury was not likely to confound measurements.

Cardiovascular Assessment Heart rate (HR) was measured by a photoplethysmogram (Lafayette Model # 77067) attached to the subject's middle finger or thumb of the nondominant hand. The signal from the photoplethysmogram was relayed to a Lafayette Heart Rate Monitor (Model # 77067) set to continuously display HR (in bpm). Twelve HRs per minute were recorded by a research assistant. In order to standardise measurement of HR, this assistant wore a headset which signalled pre-recorded tones at ten second intervals; upon hearing the tone, the assistant recorded two consecutive HRs. The Lafayette Heart Rate Monitor was chosen because it could be easily transported to the jury. Blood pressure was measured each minute using an IBS automated sphygmomanometer (Model # SD 700AP) which employs an occluding cuff in conjunction with a pressure-sensor, positioned over the brachial artery of the subject's dominant arm. Measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure were displayed digitally and recorded at one minute intervals. In order to examine change in cardiovascular measures and self-reported anxiety from a baseline period, all subjects also participated in a laboratory session. In the laboratory, HR was also recorded by placing a second Grass photoplethysmogram (Model # 7 DAF) on the finger next to the Lafayette photoplethysmogram; the pulse wave was relayed to a Grass 7Pl pre·· amplifier and recorded on a Grass Model 7 Polygraph. The purpose of this additional recording was to validate the use of the Lafayette Heart Rate Monitor* . Self-Report Measures An abbreviated version of the state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) (Spielberger, Gorusch and Lushene, 1970) was chosen to assess subjective level of anxiety. The reliability and validity of the full scale has been well researched and has yielded satisfactory psychometric data (Spielberger et ai, 1970). O'Neil, Spielberger and Hansen (1972) modified the form by selecting four items from the "state" portion of the STAI which were found to have the highest item-remainder correlation coefficients and validated * Because photoplethysmograms are sensitive to extraneous light and movement, HR readings from the Lafayette Heart Rate Monitor were subject to increased measurement error. Both light and movement artefacts resulted in displayed HRs higher than the actual HRs. To reduce the influence of this artefact in a standardised manner, two procedures were followed: 1) the research assistant observed unsteady pulses from a pulse light indicator on the Lafayette Heart Rate Monitor and did not record these readings, and 2) the four highest of 12 readings for each minute of all measurement periods were eliminated. To demonstrate the reliability of this method of estimating HR, Pearson-Product Moment Correlation Coefficients were calculated between mean HRs obtained from each minute on the Lafayette Heart Rate Monitor and HRs obtained from the chart polygraph record. Correlations between the two methods ranged from ·89 to ·97 during the six minute baseline. Paired t-tests comparing the two methods of measurement were also calculated for each minute of the baseline and no significant differences were found between methods, indicating that the Lafayette Heart Rate measures of HR were comparable to polygraph chart record measurements of HR.

Sex Differences in Performance Anxiety


its use with the full scale (Spielberger et ai, 1970). The abbreviated version was selected for the present study because the information was collected repeatedly and the longer version may have caused boredom or fatigue in later administrations, possibly affecting participants' responses. The Personal Report of Confidence as a Performer (PRCP) (Appel, 1974) is a 30-item, true-false questionnaire developed to sample somatic, cognitive and behavioral aspects of anxiety during piano performance, and other musical performances. In the present study it was used to assess whether anxiety or confidence as a performer would correlate with cardiovascular reactivity. The test has been shown to be both a reliable and valid measure of performance anxiety. In a group of 30 anxious pianists, the Spearman-Brown reliability coefficient was ·94. Kendrick and colleagues (1982) demonstrated concurrent validity of the PRCP with correlati
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