The effects of a researcher-designed intervention on elementary students' music performance anxiety levels
Errico, Alexandra Sandy
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an instructional strategy on performance anxiety in elementary music students and how the effects varied according to participant characteristics. The primary research question addressed in this study was: Do elementary students who received a performance anxiety intervention experience significantly less anxiety prior to a performance than a control group? Auxiliary questions included: Was there a significant difference between the anxiety scores of boys and girls? Was there a significant difference between the anxiety scores of students in varying grade levels? The participants were fourth and fifth grade chorus students in an urban public school in the Northeastern United States. For the instructional portion of the study, students were randomly placed in control and experimental groups. Both groups completed the state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Index for Children (STAIC) before performing in a choral concert. Following this performance, participants in the experimental and control groups received six consecutive chorus classes in which 15 minutes were devoted to practicing song material for their second performance. In addition, the experimental group received six 30-minute sessions consisting of a researcher-designed instructional approach during class. The control group did not receive the training but worked on other musical activities. After the training was completed, both groups completed the state anxiety portion of the STAIC again before performing in a concert. Analysis through ANCOVA indicated that there was no significant difference between the mean pre-test and post-test scores of the state portion of the STAIC of the control and experimental groups and no significant difference between boys and girls. There was, however, a significant difference between grades four and five. Suggestions for further research include studies on elementary students, music perfonnance anxiety, and applicable interventions that significantly reduce this anxiety.
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