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Burnout and engagement in music performance students

Zabuska, Anna Jasmina (2017) Burnout and engagement in music performance students. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This dissertation focuses on burnout and engagement in music performance students. While involvement in music can be detrimental to the health of those involved, it can also foster their well-being. There has been a growing interest in the experiences of music students but there is very little research on aspects of their music-related well-being such as burnout and engagement.1 Not so much is known about the degrees to which students feel burned-out and engaged, and whether their demographic characteristics influence their burnout and engagement. A quantitative study was therefore undertaken to establish the levels of burnout and engagement in this population, and explore potential differences with respect to them between music performance students in Australia, Poland and the UK, and men and women (N=331). With a view to understanding why performance students burn out or become engaged, and what characterises their experiences of burnout or engagement, the mixed-method approach was employed. The results from a quantitative longitudinal study carried out in Australia and the UK (N=124), and the interviews with students classed as burned-out (N=7) or engaged (N=7) were combined to identify the factors underpinning the development of burnout and engagement, and to explore how they are experienced by music performance students. The findings suggest that performance students display comparatively low levels of burnout (although one in 10 could be at risk), and moderate degrees of engagement. The study points to cross-national and sex differences in the levels of music-related well-being experienced by performance students. Burnout develops as a consequence of inadequate motivation underlying involvement in music or limited personal and social resources to support learning. Burned-out students experience problems with their physical health (but devaluation of music may be a protective factor) and their overall psychological well-being is negatively affected. Students are likely to become engaged when music represents their true values, and when they have personal and social resources facilitating their selfactualisation through music. Engagement further fuels students’ proactive approach to learning and resultant progress. The findings form the basis for practical advice for teachers, institutions and students themselves on how students’ music-related well-being could be protected and enhanced.

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