An investigation into Taiwanese music college students' self-management of musical performance anxiety

Huang, W. L. (2019) An investigation into Taiwanese music college students' self-management of musical performance anxiety. Doctoral thesis, Royal College of Music.

Abstract

Taiwan has many high-level music colleges that prepare students for performance and teaching careers. These music colleges are competitive environments in which students are potentially learning to cope with musical performance anxiety (MPA). MPA has been widely researched in recent years. Studies have found that college musicians use their own unique coping strategies or rely on past experiences of coping with MPA to manage it. Nevertheless, literature that focuses on MPA self-management is still limited. The aim of this thesis is to fill this gap by investigating the ways in which MPA is self-managed by Taiwanese college musicians (TCMs). The research questions are: 1) How do TCMs define and perceive MPA? 2) How do TCMs self-manage MPA? 3) What strategies for managing MPA do the TCMs believe they will use with their students when they carry out teaching as part of their future portfolio careers? Fifty-three undergraduates were recruited from a music college in Taiwan. Each participant was interviewed before all of their performances taking place in one semester: formal concert, exam, and graduate recital. The data was analysed through a qualitative approach by using thematic analysis in order to examine the strategies used and the process of managing MPA. The findings are presented as four themes: 1) Strategies used in preparation for different types of performance, during different time periods of preparation and performance. 2) Strategies in context: people and places. 3) Understanding the strategies: metacognition in musical learning and managing MPA. 4) MPA self-management and the teaching–learning cycle. Results revealed that it is possible for TCMs to self-manage their MPA through developing metacognitive processes with support networks in the conservatoire environment and with various external resources. However, information on MPA-coping strategies are like pieces of a puzzle that are scattered rather than being coherently fitted together. Therefore, recommendations for further research and applications to practice are made.

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