Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Research Publications

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    High levels of synaesthetic endorsement in a study on music listening styles
    Glasser, S ; Osborne, MS ; Krause, AK (UK Synaesthesia Association and American Synesthesia Association, 2024)
    This presentation focuses on the discussion of a surprising result in a study investigating the association between endorsed synaesthetic experiences and music engagement and cognitive styles, in response to music listening: namely, the unusually high level of synaesthetic endorsement in a population of young adults. The sample comprised of 310 individuals aged 18-34 (M = 20.03, Mdn = 19, SD = 3.06), with 237 identifying their gender as female (76.50%). Participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire that included demographics, the musicianship module of the MUSEBAQ, the Music Engagement Test (MET), the short version of the MusicEmpathizing-Music-Systemizing Inventory (MEMS Inventory), and items from the Synesthesia Battery. Only complete responses were considered. In total, when asked directly about whether they had synaesthesia (n = 302), 196 participants said no (64.90%), 89 (29.50%) said they were not sure, and 17 (5.50%) said they were completely confident that they had synaesthesia. However, 61 of the people who were 'not sure' and a further 31 of the people who said 'no', did select 'yes' to at least one of the synaesthesia type questions. Therefore, for subsequent analyses, a binary classification based on whether the participants had endorsed none (n= 193) or at least one of the synaesthesia types (n= 109) was created. This unusually high endorsement of at least one type when presented with a full list of currently known types of synaesthesia suggests that one explicit question may not best capture individuals' experiences of synaesthesia or synaesthesia-like experiences in self-report measures. This finding also compels reflection on both population awareness of synaesthesia and how we, as researchers, classify synaesthetic experiences.
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    Ethical considerations for sustainable music training using VR technology: a case study of performance anxiety.
    Osborne, M ; Glasser, S ; Loveridge, B ( 2022-04-08)
    Presentation given at the 2022 Teaching Music Online in Higher Education (TMOHE) and Music, Education and Technology (MET) online international conference. INTRODUCTION Simulation training is used to develop performance skills in various disciplines, particularly where in-situ training is either impossible or unsafe to implement (Renganayagalu et al., 2021). Such training enables learners to acclimatise to real-life stressors and anxiety-inducing scenarios in a physically and/or psychologically safe environments, to protect against performance decrements which reveal themselves in high pressure contexts rather than low-stress practice sessions. BACKGROUND Recent work using immersive virtual reality (VR) provides preliminary evidence of the capacity of this technology to evoke music performance anxiety (Fadeev et al., 2020; Fanger et al., 2020). In this study, we explore the capacity of VR to assist music students to develop technical and psychological competence to perform at their best under pressure implemented within tertiary music institution settings. METHOD Richie’s Plank Experience (Toast VR, 2016) was used to approximate the physiological symptoms of high-stress performance in a single case pilot study with a highly trained violinist. Prior to exposure, a performance psychologist taught the participant a pre-performance routine with demonstrated utility in musicians (Osborne et al., 2014). The psychologist subsequently guided the participant remotely through the routine via Zoom, whilst the participant was immersed in the VR environment. Heart rate, subjective units of distress, and confidence measurements were taken across five levels of exposure which varied the integration of instrument and intervention. FINDINGS The plank task induced a notable stress response. Additionally, the musician was receptive to pre-performance routine instructions to downregulate their stress response. This created a performance focus when in the VR environment, demonstrated by decreased anxiety and increased confidence ratings across performance tasks. IMPLICATIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS We provide preliminary evidence for the capacity of immersive VR to induce the situational stress required to trigger a cascade of physical and psychological responses. The benefits of this technology need to be considered alongside areas such as privacy, storage, access, and accessibility
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    The impact of idiopathic synaesthesia on musical abilities
    Glasser, S ; Timmers, R ; Dibben, N ; Eitan, Z ; Granot, R ; Metcalfe, T ; Schiavio, A ; Williamson, V (Humanities Research Institute, 2015)