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Effects of focus of attention instructions on listeners’ evaluations of solo instrumental performance
International Journal of Music Education  (IF0.955),  Pub Date : 2021-07-19, DOI: 10.1177/02557614211033312
D. Gregory Springer, Brian A. Silvey

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of focus of attention instructions (i.e. focus on the solo, accompaniment, or collaboration) on listeners’ performance evaluations. Participants (N = 159) were inservice band directors who listened to and evaluated the accuracy and expressivity of four excerpts of Haydn’s Concerto for Trumpet in E-Flat Major, which we created by synchronizing recordings of good and bad performances of a trumpet soloist with good and bad performances of a piano accompaniment. Results indicated a significant main effect for focus-of-attention instructions group, indicating that listeners’ ratings were affected by the focus-of-attention instructions they received. However, we also found a significant three-way interaction among solo, accompaniment, and group, which signified that the effects of focus-of-attention instructions varied according to both solo and accompaniment conditions. Asking adjudicators to focus their evaluations on the collaborative performance of a soloist and pianist may result in different performance ratings than when asked to rate the soloist or pianist only. Implications for music educators and solo and ensemble event organizers are discussed.