Music performance anxiety reconceptualized: A critique of current research practices and findings

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Over the past decade, performing arts medicine research initiatives have documented the phenomenon of music performance anxiety (MPA), highlighting the debilitating symptoms, etiology, dimensions, and efficacy of treatment procedures. These studies have used surveys, in-vivo laboratory studies, and intervention trials. However, a review of this reported literature illustrates that many have been poorly designed and implemented. The article critiques this literature on five fronts: definition of terms, assessment, sampling, epidemiology, and treatment. The article raises the question whether through diversity of conceptual theories, inferior sampling procedure, invalid screening criteria, an use of unreliable assessment measures, performing arts medicine practitioners and researchers may have been misinformed regarding their understanding of and ability to manage performance-related psychological problems of musicians. The author reconceptualizes MPA as pertaining to the music-performance career and occupation - as opposed to relating to personality deficiencies or residual inclinations and underlying psychopathology. Within this proposed context innovative diagnostic labels, assessment measures, clinical research procedures, and treatment interventions have been suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-98
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Problems of Performing Artists
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science


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