Emotional Intelligence in the Arts- Musician Survey

"Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to recognize your own, and other people’s emotions; to

know the differences between emotions and label them appropriately; and to use emotional

information to guide thinking and behavior." - Cheryl O’Donoghue in her book “How to be an

Emotionally Intelligent Leader (While Crushing Your Goals)”

As artists, Emotional Intelligence is central to giving a truly powerful performance. It’s

something we use daily, but it has never formally been addressed. Below are 16 attributes of

an emotionally intelligent musician based off of the 53 attributes of an emotionally intelligent

leader found in Cheryl’s book, quoted above. I have created a survey that is centered around getting general feedback from musicians on how Emotional Intelligence is used in programming, practicing, performing, etc… Any feedback you can give will help my research immensely. Jot down anything that comes to mind when you read these attributes.

• Do you use it? How?

• Does it help you perform? Be specific

• Is it something you’d like to incorporate into how you operate as an artist?

• Or anything else that comes to mind


  • Do you use it in your composition process?

  • How do you portray these concepts to your performer?

Visual Artists:

  • How do you visually portray this?

  • Does this effect colors or tones you use?

Access Survey Here (copy and paste):

1. I understand how my music affects others and I take time to craft my musical message so it will be

accepted or viewed in the best possible way

2. I don’t blame others for my mistakes. It’s easy for me to apologize and accept responsibility for my

actions. No matter how small my role in whatever went wrong, I will own it.

3. I can look at and understand things from a different point of view. I feel comfortable changing my

approach to a piece after gaining additional information or insights.

4. I am realistic in my estimation of my own skills, as well as others’ skills and abilities. I do not

overestimate my own skills, nor do I underestimate the competence of my audience or collaborators.

5. It’s easy for me to consider the needs and feelings of my audience.

6. I know that people can think differently than me and that they may disagree with what I perform or

how I perform something.

7. I do my part to create an atmosphere that inspires positive interactions for my audience.

8. I think about what could go wrong in a performance and prepare accordingly to avoid an “oh no”

moment on stage.

9. I know that I have to practice and it’s not always fun. I learn to embrace it, get it done efficiently and effectively, and move on.

10. I can accurately identify a wide range of emotions and portray them in the music that I play.

11. I know how to inspire people to discover what they can do through a moving performance.

12. I know how to live in the moment.

13. I know what my strengths and lesser strengths are in playing my instrument. I know how to use my strengths while keeping my lesser strengths from holding me back.

14. I am able to anticipate how people are likely to react to a performance I give.

15. I am able to pick up on the mood and feelings of the audience in my performance space. I stay

tuned to the emotions of the audience and effectively engage them through my performance.

16. I know that perfection is impossible; I do the best that I can.

Access Survey Here (copy and paste):

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