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Being in Concert: The effects of audience participation on engagement, kama muta, and connectedness

Being in Concert: The effects of audience participation on engagement, kama muta, and connectedness

Presenter Name:Nicole, Fu

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Dan Bosnyak, Susan Marsh Rollo, Jonna Vuoskoski, Laurel Trainor, Dana Swarbrick


Concerts are important sociocultural events that facilitate social bondingparticularly participatory musicking, which is theorized to promote more bonding than passive listening (Savage et al., 2020). Feelings of connectedness have previously been measured at concerts and are related to listening context and emotional experiences (Swarbrick & Vuoskoski). 

In this study, we manipulated concert audience participation by having the performer encourage the audience to sing and clap during songs 4 and 8. We collected survey data from n = 4 performers and n = 69 of the audience. The audience reported their enjoyment, engagement, emotions, and perceived connectedness after the songs with participation and their matched controls (every second song). The performers reported perceived audience engagement and perceived connectedness. We expect that active participation will result in more intense emotions and social bonding. 

Data processing and analysis is ongoing; however, preliminary analyses of the survey data using mixed-effects modelling suggest that the manipulation of singing and clapping increased engagement. We examined reported connectedness by song: songs 2 and 6 had lower connectedness to the audience than songs 4 and 8; song 2 had the lowest connectedness to the musicians while song 6 was not significantly different from song 8. This suggests that audience engagement promoted connectedness within the audience, but the relation is less clear in connectedness to the musicians.

We expect that the results will offer insight into the role of audience participation and highlight how musicians and scientists can collaborate to take concert audience research to a new empirical level.


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