Developing evidence-based interventions to enhance performance

Clark, T. and Williamon, A. (2009) Developing evidence-based interventions to enhance performance. In: International Symposium on Performance Science 2009, 15-18 December 2009, New Zealand.


Increasingly, a broader range of training programs and evidence-based interventions are being employed within music education contexts. It is important that these programs are empirically tested to provide an unbiased assessment of their impact and efficacy. This article highlights methods for developing and testing intervention programs. A nine-week musician-specific mental skills training program was developed and delivered to performance students from the Royal College of Music (RCM). Pre- and post-testing involved a battery of questionnaires, public performances, and performance-related tasks. Feedback from these students was collected throughout concerning their views on the relevance and usefulness of the program. In comparison with a control group, this experimental group demonstrated significant changes in their views toward practice activities and specific practicing behaviors. A significant increase in self-efficacy for performing was also found for the experimental group, as was an increase in imagery vividness. These results are further supported by comments from students in the experimental group revealing greater levels of self-awareness and confidence, facilitative views toward and heightened control over anxiety, and healthier perspectives toward music making. Feedback from the participants also provided insight into issues pertaining to content and delivery.

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