Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Joseph Rackers


The purpose of this study is to determine if relationships exist between the Big Five personality types and levels of music performance anxiety (MPA) in collegiate piano majors. Fifty-five (N = 55) collegiate music majors enrolled in private lessons in the fall 2017 semester participated in this quantitative study. Participants completed a survey consisting of three sections: demographic questions, the “International Personality Item Pool Big Five Factor Markers” questionnaire (Pettersson and Turkheimer, 2010), and the “Three-Dimensional Performance Anxiety Inventory” (Cheng, Hardy, and Markland, 2009).

The questionnaire had three primary focuses: (1) to collect demographic data and information of collegiate piano students at the University of South Carolina, (2) to learn about students’ personality types within the boundaries of the Big Five personality markers, and (3) to gain a clear understanding of students’ general feelings and responses to MPA. Survey results were analyzed to measure the relationships between each of the five personality types and five performance anxiety constructs.

Results of the study revealed several statistically significant correlations between (1) worry and self-focus, (2) worry and somatic tension, (3) somatic tension and self- focus, (4) neuroticism and somatic tension, (5) neuroticism and self-focus, (6) neuroticism and worry, (7) conscientiousness and somatic tension, and (8) openness and perceived control. Findings suggest that worry, self-focus, somatic tension, and neuroticism affect performers negatively, while openness, conscientiousness, and perceived control likely help to alleviate MPA. Results of the t-test found that males reported higher levels of perceived control than females. Overall findings indicate that certain personality constructs studied in this research do have an impact on MPA, whether positive or negative. Interventions for MPA vary widely to include cognitive and behavioral therapies, meditation, mindfulness, pharmaceutical interventions, and proposed strategies to reduce self-focus, worry and somatic tension, while increasing openness, conscientiousness and perceived control.


© 2019, Lindsey Brooke Chattin

Included in

Music Commons