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The Psychology of Music Performance Anxiety$
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Dianna Kenny

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586141.001.0001

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Phenomenology of music performance anxiety

Phenomenology of music performance anxiety

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Phenomenology of music performance anxiety
Source:
The Psychology of Music Performance Anxiety
Author(s):

Dianna T. Kenny

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586141.003.0014

This chapter discusses the phenomenology (i.e., lived experience) of music performance anxiety in all its manifestations — somatic, cognitive, and behavioural — as experienced by classical, jazz, and popular musicians, both instrumentalists and vocalists. It shows that music performance anxiety is no respecter of musical genre, age, gender, years of experience, or level of technical mastery of one's art. It compares the experiences of performers who find performance exhilarating with those whose anxiety deprives them of joy in performing. It explores some of the differences in their respective behaviour, perception, and focus that maintain or exacerbate their anxiety. The chapter also considers the presence and nature of personal vulnerabilities in very anxious musicians that are expressed, not just in their musical performances, but which pervade their lives. The chapter introduces the role of aversive performance experiences in triggering what for some musicians becomes a lifelong fear of performing. Finally, is it shown that anxious musicians can experience exhilaration in some of their performances — an experience described as ‘flow’ — and that it is for such experiences that anxious musicians remain in the field of music performance.

Keywords:   musical performance, musicians, performers, anxiety, personal vulnerabilities, flow, exhilaration

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