Final excerpt – Competition in Music in the Twentieth Century by Rohrer. P. Thomas (2012) 

The four cornerstones for my own thesis research.

Some perceive competition as a motivator that drives the participant to a higher level of achievement. Kohn, however, contended that “competition is fundamentally an interactive word, like kissing, and it stretches the term beyond usefulness to speak of competing with oneself.” (Kohn,)

Competition may produce positive and negative effects, depending on the circumstances surrounding the contest. Supporters argue that group competition develops “citizenship” skills of discipline and cooperation needed for the challenges of adult life. Some argue that intergroup competition (between groups) may foster cooperation within the groups, but without careful planning and supervision, competitive habits may transfer to the intragroup setting. (Friedman, 1983 p 28)

While often competition appears to be equally capable of generating a negative type of interaction among students that, especially for those experiencing repeated failure, may lead to diminished performance, anxiety, avoidance behavior, loss of self-esteem, decreased interest, or discontinued involvement in some task or activity.” (Austin, 1988)

“The competitive situation is one in which reinforcement is prescribed on the basis of a subject’s behavior relative to that of other individuals; while the cooperative or less-competitive situation involves working in harmony to achieve a mutually agreeable end. The person engaged in competition is concerned with winning, while the goal of winning need not be present under cooperative conditions. (Coleman, 1976, p xii)


Alphie Kohn, No Contest: The Case against Competition (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company,1986)p. 6

Marilyn R. Freedman, “Achievement Motivation, Future Orientation, and Intragroup versus Intergroup Structure: The Determinants of Level of Individual Performance in Groups” (Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1983), p. 28.

James R. Austin, “Competitive and Noncompetitive Goal Structures: An Analysis of Motivation and Achievement Outcomes among Elementary Band Students” (Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa, 1988), p. 10.

Don Verlin Coleman, “Biographical, Personality, and Situational Determinants of Leisure Time Expenditure: With Specific Attention to Competitive Activities (Athletics) and to More Cooperative Activities (Music)” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1976), p. xii.