The Science & Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning

By Richard Parncutt; Gary E. McPherson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

4
Performance Anxiety
GLENN D. WILSON & DAVID ROLAND

Performance anxiety is a common problem among both amateur and professional musicians. It afflicts individuals who are generally prone to anxiety, particularly in situations of high public exposure and competitive scrutiny, and so is best understood as a form of social phobia (a fear of humiliation). Some degree of tension adds electricity to a performance, but pessimistic self-talk and feelings of panic can seriously affect it. The most effective psychological treatments seem to be those that combine relaxation training with anxiety inoculation (developing realistic expectations of what will be felt during performance) and cognitive restructuring (modifying habitual thoughts and attitudes that are self-handicapping, regardless of their origins). Preliminary research with hypnotherapy and the Alexander Technique suggests that these might also be effective in reducing performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety, sometimes called stage fright, is an exaggerated, often incapacitating, fear of performing in public. As in any other kind of phobia, the symptoms are those produced by activation of the body's emergency system, the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, including all the wellknown effects of increases of adrenaline in the bloodstream (Fredrikson & Gunnarsson, 1992). The changes observed would have an adaptive function in relation to a physical threat, preparing us for an athletic response (fighting or fleeing). Unfortunately, running from or attacking an audience is seldom appropriate and the aftereffects of the alarm system can interfere with musical performance. For example, the increased heart pumping intended to supply additional oxygen to the muscles is felt as distressing palpitations. The increased activity of the lungs and widening of airways produces a feeling of breathlessness. The sharpening of vision has an aftermath in visual disturbances such as blurring. The diversion of resources away from digestion produces “butterflies” in the stomach. The redirection of body fluids such as saliva into the bloodstream pro

-47-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Science & Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 388

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?