Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (BM)


School of Music


John R. Peterson


In a 2010 study, Elizabeth Margulis finds that audience members enjoy classical music less when they read information about the piece before they hear it. Her result is surprising because conventional wisdom suggests that such pre-concert information would add to an audience members’ enjoyment of a concert. To gain further perspective, I decided to conduct a similar study on JMU’s campus that differed from Margulis’ in many ways. For example, participants attended a live concert rather than listening to excerpts of music through headphones. I created a survey that asked participants questions about their experience at a concert they attended at the Forbes Center. These questions included what kind of interpretive assistance (i.e. program notes or a speaker) participants received, what type of information they received from the program notes or speaker, and how their enjoyment was affected. The results of this study contradict Margulis’ in two major ways: participants that received program notes were likely to experience an increase of enjoyment, and participants had a strong desire for descriptive information in their interpretive assistance. Other results from this study include the confirmation that information provided by a speaker leads to large increases of enjoyment, and participants who were at least neutral toward attending a concert beforehand had a greater chance of enjoying most or all of the concert.

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