UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Asia-Pacific Journal for Arts Education
Name(s) of Author/Editor(s): 
Manny Brand and Steven A. Beebe
Volume No.: 
Issue No.: 
Year of publication: 
Country of publication: 
Hong Kong
Country of Research Data: 
Hong Kong and USA
This study approaches performance anxiety from cultural and gender perspectives.  In general, cultural context has been ignored in the research of music performance anxiety, and there are conflicting results regarding the influence of gender on performance anxiety. Therefore, this study assesses the degree of reported music performance anxiety between Hong Kong Chinese and American university music students and differences in performance anxiety among female and male subjects. Performance anxiety was assessed by the Performance Anxiety Inventory (PAI), a 20-item questionnaire that evaluates the somatic symptoms, emotional attitudes, and effect of music performance anxiety specifically in relation to performing in front of an audience.  Participants in the study included 94 undergraduate music majors enrolled full-time at a university in Hong Kong, PCR, and 79 undergraduate music majors, also full-time, enrolled at a university located in Texas, USA. Scores on the PAI served as the primary dependent variable. Results show that Hong Kong Chinese music students reported higher levels of performance anxiety compared to American music students. Although this study did not investigate why differences in performance anxiety may occur between these two cultures, differences in cultural context, values, and attitudes are discussed.  Regarding gender, there is no statistically significant (overall) difference in reported music performance anxiety between males and females.   Given the complexities of understanding and treating musical performance anxiety, there is a need to comprehend musical performance anxiety through the eyes of student musicians from diverse cultures. While this present study lends support to the strength of culture in influencing a musician's degree of response to musical performance, the performer's gender does not appear to make a difference in the overall degree one experiences performing anxiety.
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