Extensive research on the psychological benefits of psychological skills training in sport has
been conducted in Sport Psychology, with unambiguous positive results. However,
psychological skills training has not yet been fully applied in the Psychology of Music.
Mindfulness training, and specifically the mindfulness, acceptance and commitment (MAC)
approach, has been applied in sport, but thus far no MAC intervention on musicians has been
published. The combination of Psychological Skills Training (PST) and mindfulness (the MAC
approach) training is more rare and has not yet been used in music studies. The configuration of
mindfulness (MAC) and PST has been applied in a sport setting, but has never been tested in a
proper intervention programme for music students. This study fills this gap.
The primary aim of this research was to implement and evaluate the effect of PST, in
combination with mindfulness, on undergraduate music students. The second aim was to
determine whether the intervention programme had an impact on the students’ psychological
well-being and the management of music performance anxiety. The third aim was to evaluate
whether the students’ psychological skills and mindfulness have improved. The fourth aim was
to determine whether the combination of PST and mindfulness training was successful. The fifth
aim was to evaluate whether the cross-over from Sport Psychology to the Psychology of Music
in terms of the knowledge base, intervention PST protocols and psychometric measuring
instruments was meaningful. The sixth aim was to determine whether the correlations between
the psychological constructs (subscales) of the pre-intervention test measurements on all the
respondents were meaningful. A convenience sample of 36 undergraduate music students from the Department of Music at the
University of Pretoria was selected. The students were asked to participate voluntarily. The
experimental group consisted of 21 students, and the remaining 15 students formed the control
group. A quasi-experimental design was implemented in this research to address problems that might
occur because of the voluntary selection method employed. Voluntary participation was adopted
to ensure that the participants were fully engaged in and committed to this study. The aspects of
motivation and commitment were essential prerequisites for this research to be successful,
because full commitment and maximum attendance of the intervention sessions were crucial to
be able to determine the impact of this intervention programme.
The results indicated a significant improvement in positive relationships with others within the
experimental group, as measured by Ryff’s Psychological Well-being Scale. Pre- and postintervention
test results within the experimental group indicated a statistically significant
improvement in all three subscales of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (cognitive state
anxiety, somatic state anxiety and self-confidence). A statistically significant improvement on
five of the seven subscales of Bull’s Mental Skills Questionnaire (self-confidence, anxiety and
worry management, concentration ability, relaxation ability and levels of motivation) were
reported, and on the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the subscales of “describe” items
and “non-judge” items improved significantly from the pre-intervention test to the postintervention
test in the experimental group. Interestingly, the growth mindset within the
experimental group also increased significantly, while the fixed mindset decreased significantly.
This significant positive increase in the scores of the experimental group might be an indication
that the intervention programme had a moderately significant impact on important psychological
dimensions of the participating undergraduate music students.
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Human, Lourens H.(University of Pretoria, 2006-09-07)
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