Music Performance Anxiety and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Some Pedagogical Insights

November 15, 2021


Although it has gained considerable scholarly attention within the last three decades, music performance anxiety (MPA) remains a topic most musicians prefer to avoid due to fear of judgment. Yet, the experience of MPA is prevalent among adult and adolescent musicians, as evidenced by the studies of Fishbein and Middlestadt (1988), van Kemenade et al. (1995), Fehm and Schmidt (2006), and others. Moreover, Kenny and Osborne (2006) have suggested that adolescence is a critical period for the onset of MPA. Among others, Miller and Chesky (2004) have demonstrated the centrality of negative cognition in MPA, and in accordance with these findings, some studies have yielded promising results for cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as an effective MPA treatment. Given the frequency of MPA’s onset in adolescence and the accessibility of CBT techniques, in this article I propose several adapted CBT methods for the private music lesson, enabling pedagogues to add cognitive and behavioral goals to weekly practice assignments.

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2094 Last modified on April 18, 2022