Virtual reality feedback influences musicians’ physical responses and mental attitude towards performing
Simulation has been applied as a successful training, however, an investigation of its effect with implications for musical performance training is still lacking. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of positive and negative simulated feedback on musicians’ performance confidence (PC), perceived performance quality (PQ), state anxiety (SA) and heart rate variability (HRV). Twelve musicians performed the same piece three times: twice in front of three interactive virtual ‘judges’ with positive and negative facial and behavioural feedback and a ‘no judges but identical environment’ control. PC and SA were reported before and after each performance, while musicians’ perceived PQ was addressed after. The HRV was monitored throughout. Using Generalised Estimating Equations to examine relationships between physiological and psychological responses and condition, the results showed a significant influence of condition, with the positive feedback resulting in the highest physiological arousal and PQ ratings. Musicians who experienced an increase in SA before the performance showed a lower HRV during the performance. The SA and PC significantly predicted the PQ, with lower levels of SA and greater degrees of PC leading to a higher perceived PQ. Results are discussed in the light of simulation training.