Virtual reality feedback influences musicians’ physical responses and mental attitude towards performing

Lisa Aufegger and David Wasley

Lisa Aufegger shares a short preview of her upcoming article in Music and Medicine:

Simulation has been applied as a successful modality of training in areas such as medicine, aviation, and military. However, the investigation of its usefulness to manage different musical environments for musicians have been few. One facet of performance is audition panel feedback and how musicians are effected by and respond to different affective climates. Our research, entitled, “Virtual Reality Feedback Influences Musicians’ Physical Responses and Mental Attitude Towards Performing” is a first attempt in providing musicians with a simulated performance environment that uses virtual performance feedback, positive and negative, to assess and learn about musicians’ reactivity and recovery to performing.

We measured heart rate variability and perceived anxiety, performance confidence, and performance quality over time, and used Generalized Estimating Equations to evaluate the impact of virtual feedback for each domain. Results are promising in that positive feedback resulted in the highest performance quality ratings, while musicians who experienced an increase in anxiety before the performance showed a lower HRV (greater state of alertness) during the performance. Future research, however, will be needed to make findings more applicable to a broader groups of classical musicians. Potentially, simulations provide a safe place in which musicians can experience and develop strategies to manage their response to various audition panel feedback and achieve consistent high quality performance independently of perceived audience response.

Thank you Lisa for sharing this preview of your article on such an interesting topic!