عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the major concerns of music performers worldwide is mastering control over performance anxiety and the prevention of decreased performance ability which is a result of self-interference and psychological pressure. Music is a spontaneous art that happens at the moment. Music performers strive to convey their emotions through musicality and feelings. They only have a single chance to achieve this and have to be able to show their best at the very moment of performance. These constraints will eventually cause performance anxiety, leading to its destructive consequences.
A variety of methods have been introduced and studied to different extents over the years for treating and controlling performance anxiety. In Iran, however, this topic has not been studied thoroughly, leading to the absence of the relevant practical field research in the statistical population of music in the country. By analyzing and applying «The Inner Game of Music» -a theory designed to build an increased knowledge and control over performance anxiety-, and collecting data from ten senior undergraduate students of University of Tehran, Faculty of Music, this research is aimed to investigate the effectiveness of mental skills and their potency to facilitate control over self-interferences and performance anxiety.
This research was initiated as a result of concerns raised by the students regarding their graduation recitals, which were to be held 18 months after Covid-19 outbreak in Iran, a period of time in which live performances were impossible. A number of virtual performances were organized for these students, and closer discussions and analyses of performance anxiety and possible solutions for gaining control of it had been studied further in the months leading up to their final recitals. The students were guided towards a better understanding of performance anxiety and taught to recognize self-interference through key concepts, ideas, and exercises from the theory of “The Inner Game of Music”. They were asked to fill three questionnaires twice, upon their first and last performance of the semester. The questionnaires were composed by the authors of this article, specifically for this study and was designed to evaluate the nature and intensity of students’ constructive and destructive thoughts and the physical and psychological effects of these thoughts, before, during and after their performances. Students’ ability to manage their performance anxiety in their first and final performances of the semester was then compared using the data gathered through the questionnaires.
Analysis of the results obtained from the students’ scores given to each of the topics of constructive and destructive thoughts and their immediate effects after their first and final performances, indicates that the exercises of “Inner Game of Music” and awareness of the impacts of self-interferences in performance has generally increased constructive thoughts and their effects while relatively decreasing destructive thoughts and their consequences. This analysis also shows an overall improvement and more satisfaction of the performers with their performance.
This interdisciplinary field study has demonstrated that mental skills greatly and positively influence the physical skills and performance quality of musicians, reducing fear and performance anxiety, leading to much heightened control over stress.