Music Performance Anxiety and Arousal Imagery: Development of the Musician’s Self-Regulation Imagery Scale
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Music performance anxiety (MPA) is a common experience for musicians regardless of their level of expertise and can have a negative impact on performance quality. Arousal imagery is a technique that has been used to help performers regulate performance anxiety in order to perform their best. There are diverging views concerning the level of arousal that performers should imagine to effectively deal with performance anxiety. Existing MPA research has been dominated by interventions that employ relaxation imagery. Despite positive results, methodological limitations prevent causal conclusions regarding its efficacy. Further, other arousal imagery strategies – incorporating high arousal – have helped performers in closely related high-stress performance domains, and these strategies might also benefit musicians. As well, contemporary emotion regulation models, and the best-practice guidelines for exposure treatment of anxiety disorders, raise concerns about the efficacy of relaxation imagery. In light of these issues, and the predominant use of relaxation imagery in MPA research, understanding whether and how musicians use arousal imagery in their own practice is an important, yet strikingly understudied area. We developed the Musician’s Self-Regulation Imagery Scale (MSRIS) to measure musicians’ intentional use of different arousal imagery strategies in three groups of musicians with varying levels of expertise. The factor analytic structure of the MSRIS suggests that it captures mastery and high arousal imagery and results indicate that musicians use imagery with varying levels of arousal. Further, results suggest that mastery imagery positively relates to MPA and auditory and visual imagery vividness, while high arousal imagery is positively associated with MPA and negatively associated with visual imagery vividness. Implications of the present study and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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Katherine Finch (2018). Music Performance Anxiety and Arousal Imagery: Development of the Musician’s Self-Regulation Imagery Scale. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13752