The Effects of Performance Anxiety on Sight-singing Achievement

Elizabeth Ait

Major Professor: Brian Wuttke, School of Music

Committee Members: Jan Arminio, Stanley P. Engebretson

Enterprise Hall, #318
April 20, 2017, 10:00 AM to 08:00 AM


The purpose of this study was to find some correlation between sight-singing and performance anxiety (PA). The investigator endeavored to identify if the degree of PA that sight-singing students experience lessened with test preparation, depending on the environments. Although research addresses the effects of PA among the musicians, there seems to be lack of studies investigating PA among college students in sight-singing courses. The investigation was conducted among undergraduate music majors and minors at a local university, using a control/experimental group design. The research necessitated an additional fifteen minutes of class instruction, four times in total, for the duration of three weeks. During this time, students were sight-singing researcher-written melodies from the Solfege Melody Studies (SMS). At the conclusion of the study, the students sang exercises (SMT), taken directly from previously sung SMS melodies, which contained the same number of notes. The three exercises were the same, for both groups. The control group took a test, and the experimental group played a game of musical darts. In addition, at the commencement, and the study conclusion, the participants filled out a survey (SSPAM) that speaks to their perceived degrees of performance anxiety under various conditions. The results suggested that control group had more anxiety, than the experimental group. This finding exhibited that the control group participants did not like the idea of the assessment. In the current study, years studying piano, was the only independent variable that was approaching statistical significance, F(1, 48) = 2. 03; P = .06. This finding supports what Demorest and May (1995) already stated, that years of playing piano (among other variables) contribute to better outcomes in sight-singing.

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