Defining music performance anxiety

Dianna T. Kenny

in The Psychology of Music Performance Anxiety

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586141
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731129 | DOI:
Defining music performance anxiety

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This chapter attempts to define music performance anxiety, recognizing that the accurate naming of a phenomenon is a first and essential step in its analysis and eventual understanding. To date, performance anxiety has not been classified within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association and that even among music researchers, there is no consensus regarding the definition of music performance anxiety. The term ‘stage fright’ has been used interchangeably, somewhat unsatisfactorily, with the term ‘music performance anxiety’. In attempting to capture the essence of the condition, current conceptualizations of music performance anxiety are reviewed as a dimensional construct, as occupational stress, as a focal anxiety disorder, as social anxiety or social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and as a panic disorder. The comorbidity of music performance anxiety with other disorders is also considered, in particular social anxiety disorder. In the final section, a number of frequently observed characteristics of people who suffer performance anxiety are reviewed, including trait anxiety, neuroticism, negative affectivity, introversion, and behavioural inhibition; fear of negative evaluation; low self-concept, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and locus of control; perfectionism; and narcissism and shame.

Keywords: diagnosis; comorbidity; stage fright; social anxiety disorder; performance anxiety

Chapter.  18112 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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