The Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS) assessment and its place in PercussionMind
"Performance depends on the ability to pay attention to the right things at the right times and pressure changes the way we concentrate, make decisions, and interact with others. TAIS measures these critical performance variables, helps elite performers understand the conditions that create pressure, and predicts their responses to pressure." (taisassessment.com)
TAIS measures 20 different traits: 6 Attentional (how one does or does not focus attention) and 14 Interpersonal (how one interacts with people and situations, emotionally and intellectually). The 6 Attentional scales address distractibility and flexibility in focusing on narrow details or broad environments, as well as one's ability to shift between the two polarities. The 14 Interpersonal traits, on the other hand, address many topics: self-confidence, personal expression, self-criticism, and preferred levels of intellectual arousal, among many others. Naturally, once a person is in a high pressure situation, there is extreme emotional and intellectual arousal, and depending on one's flexibility, this may produce roadblocks like a "choke," stage fright, debilitating self-doubt, or lack of trust in one's training and practice.
TAIS identifies strengths and weaknesses, as well as potential roadblock causes so that an individual can actively work to alleviate these issues, resulting in higher levels of performance in pressure-filled situations.
As with normal practice when using TAIS, identifying professional candidates in four classical percussion career paths to form norm groups for comparison was the first step in the PercussionMind process. Over a period of 6 months these professional percussionists - 27 in all representing 13 countries - took TAIS online. Analysis was first compiled using standard TAIS techniques, and only later was the PercussionMind Grid implemented as an at-a-glance way of discussing and viewing the mental habits of each career path, as well as the individuals within in.
Now that norm groups and PercussionMind Grids are developed, any individual wishing to compare themselves to the norm groups is able to do so. At the time of this writing the career path norm groups contain the original 27 professionals, though several others have contributed by taking the TAIS assessment. Over time, each group will grow in number, developing a more and more thorough representation of the field at large.