Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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The Relationship Between Performance Anxiety and Flow

Joann Marie Kirchner, Arvid J. Bloom, Paula Skutnick-Henley
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 23 Number 2: Page 59 (June 2008)

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Abstract: This study examined the relationship between performance anxiety and flow proneness. Ninety undergraduate music majors (52 females, 38 males) recruited from a major research university volunteered to participate. The data collection instrument consisted of two previously established inventories: the Performance Anxiety Inventory and the Music in Flow Inventory. As predicted, the data showed flow proneness to be significantly and negatively correlated with performance anxiety (r = ¿0.20, p = 0.034, one-tailed test). The data also supported a prediction that the ability to play/sing without destructive self-criticism would be negatively related to performance anxiety (r = ¿0.39, p < 0.001, one-tailed). The results suggest that both musical performance anxiety and a flow state of consciousness can exist simultaneously. It appears that creating performance conditions that foster flow may be a useful strategy for helping to alleviate the intensity of musical performance anxiety.

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