How do performers increase their wellbeing? An investigation among music and theater professionals.

De Luca, Vanessa and Lombardi, Denise and Cruder, Cinzia and Pucciarelli, Marta (2018) How do performers increase their wellbeing? An investigation among music and theater professionals. UNSPECIFIED. In: Proceedings of International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation ICERI 2018, 12-14 November, Sevilla, ES.

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Abstract

How to regulate emotions in stressful situations has become an important skill that professionals routinely need to deal with, especially for classical musicians, theatre actors and performers when moving from backstage to the stage and from the learning environment to the professional one. Conservatories and art schools have recently begun to introduce student services for health purposes, courses where students learn how to cope with performance stress and a concert hall simulator helps musicians prepare to perform. However, despite evidence suggesting that self-confidence is strongly influenced by preparation, researchers have theorized that much of performers’ wellbeing is influenced by emotions, attitude perceptions and behaviours. Indeed practices such as meditation, self-listening, physical activity and relationships are known to have a positive effect on wellbeing and stress regulation but in today’s word, these practices are often hard to ground in daily preparation routine. The question remains: How can we most effectively integrate them to lifestyle coping strategies to support wellbeing? Under what conditions do wellbeing-increasing activities work best? To address these questions, we present here UpStage, an interactive toolkit of working strategies for emotional regulation and performance training that serves in the role of mediator to enable positive change in performers. The tool is designed on the results of a qualitative study conducted with 18 experienced and anxiety-free professionals. By investigating stress management as a human intrinsic skill, we present a design tool and discuss wellbeing strategies for an effective informal learning practice.

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