Mindful Musicians: Trait Mindfulness, Deliberate Practice, Anxiety and Depression in College Musicians
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
First Faculty Advisor
First Faculty Reader
Second Faculty Reader
undergraduate students, trait mindfulness, FFMQ, music, deliberate practice, anxiety, depressive symptoms
Background. Mindfulness is understood as a capacity to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness with a sense of nonjudgement, curiosity, and kindness. Anxiety and depression are prevalent in the undergraduate musician population, despite positive effects on mental health that are often associated with listening to music. This study explored factors of music practice including instrument category, practice time, and the use of deliberate practice techniques. Our objective was to test the relationships between dispositional mindfulness, musicianship, and mental health among college instrumental musicians. I hypothesized first, that dispositional mindfulness would be positively associated with musicianship; second, that mindfulness would be negatively associated with mental health outcomes (anxiety and depressive symptoms); and third, that musicianship would be negatively associated with mental health.
Methods. Questionnaire data on demographics, dispositional mindfulness, musicianship (instrument played, deliberate practice, practice time), and mental health (anxiety, and depressive symptoms) were collected from 128 instrumental musician undergraduates at a large private university. Hypotheses were tested using ANOVAs and linear regressions.
Results. Regarding the associations between mindfulness and musicianship, trait mindfulness was not associated with instrument category or practice time. However, mindfulness was significantly and positively associated with deliberate practice. As expected, the data supported previously reported findings showing significant negative associations between trait mindfulness and mental health including both anxiety and depressive symptoms. There were no significant associations between musicianship and mental health variables.
Conclusions. This is the first research I am aware of that has shown an association between dispositional mindfulness and musicianship measured by deliberate music practice. In the setting of this cross-sectional study, it’s not possible to infer directionality or causality regarding this relationship. However, future longitudinal studies may uncover these aspects of the relationship. These findings replicate previous research demonstrating a significant negative relationship between mindfulness and mental distress among undergraduate students. These findings suggest future research should explore the potential benefits of mindfulness intervention to support deliberate practice among musicians and to mitigate the mental health difficulties that many musicians face. It is also possible that interventions to promote deliberative practice could increase mindfulness among musicians, another hypothesis worthy of future exploration.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wynn, Sally S., "Mindful Musicians: Trait Mindfulness, Deliberate Practice, Anxiety and Depression in College Musicians" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 274.