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Psychology’s Robertson and Music’s Eisensmith Compare Heart Rate and Respiration During Rehearsals and Recitals

Donald Roberson, emeritus professor of Psychology, gave a plenary session presentation entitled “Rehearsal and Recital: Differences in Heart Rate and Respiration” at the 2014 annual Performing Arts and Medicine Association meeting in Snowmass, Colorado.

Robertson’s presentation, coauthored with Kevin Eisensmith, professor of Music at IUP, described the changes in heart rate and respiration that occur during public music performance. Twelve IUP music students rehearsed a solo and then played that solo in a mock recital attended by approximately 50 students and faculty. Results indicated that respiration rate increased markedly during the recital, especially at the beginning of the performance. An important implication of the results is that students may benefit from learning to control breath rate through procedures such as mindful breathing.

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