An investigation of relationships between Flow Theory and music performance anxiety
This dissertation comprises three projects designed to investigate the relationship between flow and music performance anxiety and using flow to alleviate music performance anxiety. One investigation is a comprehensive literature review on flow theory and music performance anxiety. The literature review showed that flow and music performance anxiety were negatively correlated, and that facilitating flow can provide a powerful tool to reduce music performance anxiety. The second investigation is a quantitative study aimed to explore relationships between flow and music performance anxiety, which involves seventy-five participants from different music majors and education levels. Data were collected by questionnaires. Results indicated that items from four dimensions of flow (clear goals, unambiguous feedback, autotelic experience, and loss of self-consciousness) were most significantly and negatively correlated with MPA, and that strategies related to these four dimensions items may help to reduce MPA. Gender, age, education level, major, and performance form had no direct impact on flow experience, while performance time and performance frequency were significantly positively correlated with one flow dimension (unambiguous feedback). Educational level was positively correlated, and performance time and performance were negatively correlated, with MPA items. Music performers could benefit by practicing more to prepare for their performances, especially for the soloists. The third investigation is a qualitative study aimed to provide a theoretical framework for facilitating flow and reducing music performance anxiety. Data were collected by seven interviews, and ground theory method was used in the analysis. Based on this analysis, a theoretical framework for facilitating flow and reducing music performance anxiety was generated, which included three themes: preparation of performers, modeling by teachers, and construction of flow experience.