School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Brian Stiffler


Flute Performance, Kinesthetic Movement, Performance Anxiety


Music | Music Education


Kinesthetic movement has gained significant attention within the flute community over the last several decades as a performance enhancement tool. Somatic therapies such as the Alexander Technique, body mapping, Feldenkrais, and Dalcroze-Eurythmics incorporate kinesthetic movements into their practices. Although most musicians seek out these therapies solely to alleviate pain or injury, could these kinesthetic movements promote concentration and provide positive self-talk by decreasing mental distractions? Despite much research analyzing the impact of kinesthetic movements on reducing injury and pain, there is a lack of research explicitly regarding its abilities to enrich a flutist’s musical performances by reducing negative self-talk. This four-tier case study examined the impact of kinesthetic movement on flute performance musicality and performance anxiety in three undergraduate flute students at CSU in North Charleston, South Carolina. Each participant performed video-recorded weekly assigned exercises from The Flute Scale Book by Patricia George and Phyllis Avidan Louke alternating specific kinesthetic movements with no movements over one month. Every participant also completed a weekly questionnaire containing both Likert-scale and open-ended questions. All video recordings were evaluated by three university trained evaluators for weekly review using Likert-scale questionnaires. At the end of the month, participants partook in a focus group to share their experiences. This case study gathered data from weekly questionnaires and the final focus group session. The results of this study are needed to acquire a greater understanding of the possible effects of kinesthetic movement on musicality and performance anxiety. Further, this study could encourage professors and performers of other instruments to apply the results to their performance practices and pedagogy.