Experiences of music listening among rugby players at North-West University
Aslett, Tamaryn L.
Van der Merwe, Liesl
Kruger, Jaco H.
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This article documents a study that investigated the reasons why a group of student rugby players habitually listen to music as part of their pre-match routine. The investigation followed a hermeneutic phenomenological approach that allowed the players to verbalise their personal music listening experiences. The investigation links the music listening practices of the players with the concept of musical experience as an innate human capacity directed towards general well-being. For the players, well-being is a basic condition of happiness and optimism. Achieving and maintaining this condition draws on the emotive qualities of musical sound patterns, as well as the powerful, socially situated meanings of song lyrics. Consequent states of mind conceptualise a rewarding existence by integrating experiences in sport as well as in music. Directed towards rugby practice, the study found that music listening is an informal, individual activity that involves the use of earphones. The sense of personal isolation this induces is a prerequisite for generating focus as well as controlled energy, a state of mind regarded as essential for effective participation in rugby. The pervasive use yet informal application of this strategy by rugby players points to an officially undervalued psychological resource. This finding has implications for fuller exploitation and incorporation of music listening into rugby training programmes.