It enlightens me to welcome all of you to the advanced workshop: Alleviating Violinists’ stage performance anxiety. Several global networks like Hammond Ashley Violins and the Luis and Clark violinists’ organizations have recognized the workshop’s significance. Today’s workshop will cover multiple advanced subjects, such as improved treatment alternatives for reducing Music Performance Anxiety (MPA). This workshop is meant to be hands-on, with the use of lectures and activities to teach skills, promote participation, and share knowledge. Today’s workshop has presenters, including violinists who have experienced MPA. I would want to use this occasion to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the organizers, especially our distinguished speakers. I hope that everyone will use the outcomes of this program to improve MPA so that investigational methodologies are of high quality.
Methods of Treating Music Performance Anxiety (MPA)
Individuals differ widely in how they experience and cope with MPA, as I have learned from personal contacts before and during this project. Some people are more nervous than others when performing music by deceased composers rather than active composers or when performing for friends rather than strangers. An exciting performance, considering performance and music in the context of a bigger picture, and taking beta blockers are some techniques for dealing with MPA. According to the research, the influence of beta blocks on music performance anxiety is a little understudied, despite around a quarter of musicians employing them.
Beta-blocking medicines were first implemented to diagnose cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension; however, musicians are now commonly used to relieve performance anxiety. These medications can be beneficial to violinists since they function in the peripheral nervous system to prevent the physiological signs of adrenaline, including sweat, elevated heart rate, and trembling (Campbell et al., 2019). As the four aspects of MPA are synchronized and interconnected in a state of perceived threat, it can be assumed that if the physiological signs of anxiety are absent, the behavioral, cognitive, and psychological symptoms of performance anxiety will diminish.
However, one research established that a moderate beta-blocker improves musical performance, but a large dose decreases it. It may indicate a curvilinear link between performance and anxiety (Huang & Yu, 2022). Beta-blocking drugs have been regarded as effective and safe strategies to hinder the detrimental impacts of anxiety on performance. Moreover, pharmaceutical treatment is presumed to be more successful when paired with therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been one of the most frequently employed mechanisms to manage music performance anxiety and beta medications. As the acronym indicates, CBT combines cognitive and behavioral therapies; systematic desensitization and deep muscular relaxation training are two forms of behavioral treatment for anxiety disorders.
Systematic desensitization is a technique in which people must imagine a feared situation in a succession of graded levels based on fear hierarchy, from the least stressful to the most stressful possibilities. People should employ the learned approach to actual life events once they envisage encountering the issue in a secure atmosphere without any muscular strain. On the other hand, cognitive therapy is employed to modify erroneous negative thought patterns established in individuals when they face a stressful occurrence (Pfeifer et al., 2020). One of the significant aims of cognitive therapy is to teach a person new abilities. Exploration of MPA is identified as cognitive restructuring, in which individuals replace negative, unreasonable, and catastrophic thinking with more rational ones. It means substituting ideas like “if my hands sweat, I may drop my violin and the performance may freeze, ruining my career” with “if my hands sweat, I may miss a few notes, but it is not the end of the world.”
The discovery that the flow functions as a moderator for MPA, in addition to cognitive coping techniques, may expound on why some artists like to pump themselves before performing. Flow is defined as complete immersion in a specific task and better skillful performances. Although some scholars have suggested that encouraging flow may be a practical approach to minimizing the debilitating impacts of MPA, minimal studies have looked into this notion. There is a considerable negative correlation between MPA and flow. It indicates that less anxious people are more likely to endure flow (Rauf, 2018). Flow can increase awareness and a sense of control, produces a lack of self–consciousness, and encourages focused concentration.
Exciting before a performance may be related to a more commonly studied topic in the psychological literature: the reconsideration of stress arousal. It has been established that individuals who reframe arousal as excitement or challenge rather than fear suffer less anxiety and guilt and perform better than controls (Campbell et al., 2019). Some violinists say that mediation is suitable shortly before a big concert. In this analysis, it can be established that people use different treatment approaches to deal with MPA successfully.
As I conclude, first and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to the institution for co-organizing this training session. I want to express my appreciation to the resource persons and representatives of Harmmord Ashley Violins and Luis and Clark for giving valuable information on minimizing MPA in violinists. I thank all attendees who came to the seminar, asked critical questions, and shared their own experiences with MPA. I want to thank everyone for their hard work and active participation in the learning process. I realize that your educational experience encompassed various topics, ranging from project planning stages to MPA treatment choices. Finally, let me assure you that my Office will continue to support capacity-building programs to improve MPA in violinists. I look forward to collaborating with you to enhance the adoption of programs that educate individuals on how to center, focus, and perform with confidence.
Campbell, E., Burger, B., & Ala-Ruona, E. (2019). A Single-case, mixed methods study exploring the role of music listening in vibroacoustic treatment. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 19(2), 1-27.
Huang, W., & Yu, H. (2022). Social support in university music students’ coping with performance anxiety: People, strategies and performance situations. Music Education Research, 24(1), 124-135.
Pfeifer, E., Stolterfoth, C., Spahn, C., Schmidt, H., Timmermann, T., & Wittmann, M. (2020). Preventing music performance anxiety (MPA): Music students judge combined depth relaxation music therapy (DRMT) and silence to be an effective methodology. Music and Medicine, 12(3), 1-148.
Rauf, R. (2018). Perfectionism tendency and music performance anxiety (MPA) on tertiary students in Malaysia. Journal of Social and Political Sciences, 1(1), 97-103.