Managing Performance Anxiety

Andreas C. Lehmann, John A. Sloboda and Robert H. Woody

in Psychology for Musicians

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780195146103
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199851164 | DOI:
Managing Performance Anxiety

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This chapter discusses performance anxiety or “stage fright,” which is a serious problem for a lot of musicians and often has its roots in an individual's early experiences in coping with stress and pressure. The first section of the chapter discusses the physiological symptoms of performance anxiety, which are likened to a person's instinctive response to threat. Training and medicine are prescribed to address these symptoms. The remaining sections discuss the sources of performance anxiety, which can originate from within the musician himself, the particular situation, or the musical task itself. Predispositions to anxiety or unrealistic performance expectations may be addressed through cognitive treatment. Situational stress, on the other hand, can be minimized by identifying and mitigating stress-inducing factors. The last remedy is related to the musician's mastery of the piece being performed and suggests that the musical piece must not be beyond the musician's skill level.

Keywords: performance anxiety; stage fright; situational stress; musician

Chapter.  7340 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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