University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
Every musician should be encouraged to strive for peak performance; however, many musicians do not know how to achieve it. Although there is a significant amount of research done on music cognition, music therapy, and musical behavior, the research that aims to expose the inner workings of the performer’s brain is still in its infancy. In the field of Sports Performance Psychology, there have been many performance-based studies designed to discuss this idea among athletes; however, to date, there has not been a correlation for how to attain peak performance results among musicians. To bridge the relationship between the theories found in Sports Performance Psychology and music performance, I created an online program entitled Maslow for Musicians, which draws from a wide range of psychological theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Goal Setting, Mindset, Flow, Learning Styles, Self-Efficacy, Self-Attribution, and Baby Steps/Tiny Habits. This self-directed online program was created to foster an environment that could encourage musical peak performance right at the fingertips of the user. The purpose of this study was to discover if the application of the Maslow for Musicians program is beneficial to help musicians work towards peak performance. Participants at the University of Northern Colorado (N = 25) went through a five-week intervention using the Maslow for Musicians program to measure weekly confidence, flow, emotional/mental fulfillment, and overall performance experience. In addition, participants were also given The Positivity Scale, the Performance Anxiety Inventory, and a self-created assessment of current musical abilities pre- and post-intervention with the addition of the Measurement of Self-Actualization Index post-intervention. Using a mixed methods design, the quantitative data from this study found an increase in perceived weekly confidence ratings, along with engagement in flow, perceived emotional and mental fulfillment, overall performance experience ratings, personal optimism, perception of musical abilities, and a decrease in performance anxiety scores from pre-intervention to post-intervention. Survey data collected also found that 23 out of 25 participants felt happy with their performance progress throughout the duration of the intervention and believed that the Maslow for Musicians program helped strengthen their practice routine and overall feelings of personal musicianship. Further preliminary inferential statistical analysis found significance in confidence, overall experience, personal optimism, and musical abilities. Likewise, qualitative data supported quantitative findings through thematic coding analysis suggesting progression of confidence, change in mindset, belief in one’s self and musical abilities, positivity, improvement, and creation of new habits. Post-intervention, 22 out of 25 participants reported that they felt to have either achieved or were close to achieving musical self-actualization, and 24 out of 25 participants reported that they would continue using the Maslow for Musicians program in the future. Although the sample size is small, further implications for future study are discussed throughout this paper.
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