Exploring and comparing differences in performance anxiety and coping strategies between contesting and non-contesting brass band players

Fiona Smith, Kagari Shibazaki, Nigel King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although performance anxiety has been studied within a variety of musical contexts, such as
orchestral players (ICSOM, 2015; Papageorgi, Hallam & Welch, 2007) choral singers (Ryan &
Andrews, 2009), and pianists with high levels of skill (Yoshie, Kudo, Murakoshi & Ohtsuki, 2009), a relatively limited number of established studies have been carried out amongst brass band players; with most studies focused on the aforementioned’ mental health (Williamson & Bonshor, 2019). We therefore argue that the current study is somewhat unique as it explored and compared performance anxiety and coping strategies of contesting and non-contesting brass band players: thus, addressing the gap in the current knowledge.

The research was a mixed method study and followed a sequential explanatory design. The
quantitative data involved the use of the Kenny Music Performance Anxiety Inventory(K-MPAI)
(Kenny, [revised] 2009) whilst qualitative data involved interviews with contesting and noncontesting brass band players. The latter was achieved to augment and explain the quantitative data further (Cresswell & Cresswell, 2018; Punch, 2014).

Findings suggested contesting brass band players experience heightened performance anxiety
compared to their non-contesting counterparts, and experience significantly more physical symptoms and worries regarding self-scrutiny and the scrutiny of others. Furthermore, it was implied that discussions regarding performance anxiety within the brass band community were ‘non-existent’. In relation to coping strategies, the most effective methods were ‘preparation and practice’ and having a ‘positive mental attitude’ (PMA), whilst alcohol and beta-blockers were the least effective.

Recommendations for future research and factors requiring more detailed research should be given to understanding how performance anxiety affects performers on the contest day and immediately afterwards, the attitudes towards females in brass banding; and studies i.e., longitudinal, cross-sectional, or case studies on international brass banding communities in relation to performance anxiety and/or its discussions should be focused upon.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Music, Health and Wellbeing
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

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