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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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Severe music performance anxiety: phenomenology and theorizing

Severe music performance anxiety: phenomenology and theorizing

(p.233) Chapter 8 Severe music performance anxiety: phenomenology and theorizing
The Psychology of Music Performance Anxiety

Dianna T. Kenny

Oxford University Press

This chapter raises the possibility that music performance anxiety at its most extreme might constitute a disorder of the self. It applies to a subgroup of musicians whose experience of anxiety is so pervasive and profound that it is experienced as a defining characteristic of their sense of self. Attachment theory is discussed at length before two narratives produced from transcripts of interviews are presented and reviewed from an attachment-based psychotherapy perspective, which posits that one's relational experiences in early life, and the subsequent quality of one's attachment experiences, may affect and, indeed, direct behaviour, beliefs, emotions, and relationships throughout life. It is argued that attachment theory offers the most heuristic and evidence-based insights into this subgroup of musicians and that the psychodynamic psychotherapies may offer the best hope of treatment.

Keywords:   anxiety disorder, disorder of the self, performance anxiety, attachment theory, musicians, psychodynamic psychotherapies

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