Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Competition in Sport, Music, and Dance

Bonnie E. Robson
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 4: Page 160 (December 2004)

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Abstract: This paper reviews the literature in sports psychology that may be relevant in the study of competition in music and dance education, giving the reader a basis for comparison of the arts literature. Opinions vary on whether competition is good or bad for the developing child. Some believe that competitiveness is innate behavior and that competition is a motivation for high achievement. Others believe that competition detracts from performance as the increased stress and anxiety lead to a decrease in focus and, perhaps, to a decrease in self-esteem, especially for individuals with an ego orientation (a focus on comparison with others) as opposed to a mastery orientation (focus on improvement of one¿s own skills). The instruments used to measure the temperamental characteristics related to competition are discussed, including the Competitive Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory. The paper then discusses the specific research that has been done on competition in music education and in dance education. Further research is needed to determine how much competition is healthy and whether the work in sports psychology can be adapted to research in the arts.

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