For Whom Do You Practice?

Julie F. Troum, Ph.D.

For whom one practices may affect the amount of musical experience attained. Bonneville, Roussy, Lavigne, and Vallerand (2010) found that when musicians relied on the acceptance of peers or instructors, less focused practice occurred, thus reducing improvement, and heightening anxiety. On the other hand, those musicians who practiced for self-improvement of skill, increased their musical expertise at a faster rate than those who were consumed with self-comparison because they stayed focused on their personal goals.

Vallerand and others (2003) identified two categories of individuals in a Dualistic Model of Passion as harmonious-passionate or obsessive-passionate. Bonneville-Roussy and others (2010) later applied this model to the training of expert musicians. Harmonious-passionate individuals were those musicians who practiced mainly to improve their own skills and obsessive-passionate individuals, were controlled by the need to practice, also suffered from guilt and anger during the time they were prevented from practice. The obsessive-passionate musicians derived less satisfaction from musical training and were more apt to experience injury from rigid persistence.

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