Music touches us in manifold ways. We go to concerts and are blown away by incredible performances during which the musical message is poetically communicated through free expression. As musicians we sometimes experience total symbiosis with music while performing, enabling what is known as peak performance. What is it that enables such experiences? The present thesis aims to better understand the determinants of such musical experiences highlighting motivation and self-regulation as key tenets. Three empirical studies were conducted with the aim of investigating and enhancing music students’ routines of practice and performance.
The few studies that have tried to use psychological skills training with musicians have, with one exception (Clark & Williamon, 2011), been short-term interventions (e.g., Hoffman & Hanrahan, 2012; Osborne, Greene, & Immel, 2014). Therefore, an in-depth understanding of how music students’ practice may evolve due to the use of psychological skills is needed. In addition, an appropriate conceptual framework for such work in the context of music is needed. The present research aims to investigate and, in turn, suggest new directions for enhancing musicians’ instrumental practice and performance.
The dissertation comprises four articles and an introduction. It is written in English.