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Mindfulness for musicians: The effects of teaching 8-week mindfulness courses to student musicians in higher education

Czajkowski, Anne-Marie Louise (2018) Mindfulness for musicians: The effects of teaching 8-week mindfulness courses to student musicians in higher education. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Students are arriving in higher education more stressed and anxious than previously, so there is a clear benefit for institutions to provide evidence-based health and well-being interventions. Mindfulness is a widely available popular intervention, and its efficacy has been demonstrated in the clinical field and increasingly in the educational field. However, the potential benefits of teaching mindfulness to music students have not yet been explored sufficiently. This thesis reports the effects of teaching targeted 8-week mindfulness courses to singers and instrumentalists in two studies run over two years at two conservatoires and a university. Both studies used a predominantly qualitative mixed methods approach. Levels of mindfulness were measured using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ: Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006), and a specially designed Mindfulness for Musicians questionnaire. The instrumentalists’ quantitative study was quasi-experimental; the singers’ study utilised controls and randomised controls. Qualitative methods comprised of semi-structured interviews for both studies, and the singers’ study included longitudinal interviews, an anonymous diary, and a teachers’ blind study. Quantitative results showed increased levels of mindfulness among vocal and instrumentalist participants over the interventions. Participants reported a greater ability to learn instrumental technique, improved teacher/pupil relationships, more efficient and effective music practice, and enhanced communication skills in rehearsal and ensembles. Mindfulness-naïve vocal teachers who taught 136 students across two institutions identified nineteen of the 31 experimental participants in the blind study. Results demonstrated predicted positive impacts on performance anxiety, but a key finding was that mindfulness was also beneficial in enhancing aspects of participants’ performances, improving their experience and increasing performance enjoyment. The evidence presented in this thesis demonstrates the clear benefit of targeted mindfulness interventions in the field of higher music education. Mindfulness training enhances the whole musician both in student learning and as a preparation for professional life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Mindfulness music musician singer vocalist vocal instrumentalist meditation
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778642
Depositing User: Anne-Marie Louise Czajkowski
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 09:53
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24165

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