|dc.description.abstract||Many students and professional musicians suffer silently during musical
performances, reluctant to admit feelings of anxiety. For professionals, many seek
psychological therapy or even the aid of beta-blocking drugs to reduce anxiety. In
the case of students, even young students, they may choose to give up performing as
the tensions and pressures of music performance rise with musical advancement.
Studies in sports performance anxiety have been conducted since the 1970s
and only within the last 20 years has the leap been made into studying music
students, amateur performers, and professionals as they deal with recurring
psychological and physiological stress associated with performing for an audience.
To date, current research in music performance anxiety has shown that performers
of all ages and musical disciplines do experience performance-related nerves,
especially directly before going onstage. Physiological symptoms, cognitive factors,
and the evaluative, competitive nature of performance can apply pressure to a
performer that crosses the line between facilitating anxiety, which enhances the
energy and charisma of live performance, and debilitating anxiety, which causes
memory lapses and incapacitating fear. Though much is known about college-age
and professional musicians' experiences with performance-related anxiety, the area
of elementary musicians' onstage experiences and methods of coping have been
The purpose of the present study is to examine seven elementary students'
attitudes and emotions before, during and after a specific music performance.
Individual student interviews were conducted prior to the performance as an assessment tool to identify and clarify sources and symptoms of experienced music
performance anxiety. The pre-performance interviews also allowed students to
identify coping strategies they were already using independently. This information
was used to develop a targeted intervention of coping strategies for them to employ
during their performance. A group orientation session took place to further allow
students to discuss performance-related nerves, current strategies in place, as well
as guided instruction on implementing potentially effective anxiety management
strategies. Following the performance, another group session took place to review
effectiveness of the intervention strategies. A pre/post test rating scale measure
was administered to each participant to determine changes in anxieties before and
after the performance as well as to identify trait anxieties present throughout the