Music performance anxiety (MPA) is sadly experienced by musicians of all ages and abilities. When I was a young child, I used to be so nervous before my piano exams that I would feel physically ill. For me, MPA replaced the fun and joy of sharing a musical performance with fear and dread.
As a teacher, I have a special interest and a life long learning journey in studying MPA, and providing support and guidance to students and to other teachers to help build confidence, resilience and further develop growth mindset to make the experience of performing rewarding and fun! If I can support you with this in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My goal is to turn MPA into MPC – Music Performance Confidence!
I was extremely honoured to conduct a pilot study into the prevalence of MPA in child voice students aged 5 to 12 years as part of my Masters of Music Studies (Vocal Pedagogy) dissertation. Interviews were conducted with ten experienced voice teachers who work with child students.
100% of teachers interviewed had child students who had experienced MPA! Wow – that’s huge! Students experience the anxiety in a variety of ways. It can be debilitating, demoralising and significantly impact a student’s ability to find joy in their music.
Perceived sources of the anxiety are shown in the table below. The impact of peer judgement and criticism was of significance followed closely by levels of preparedness, parent judgement and fear of failure. It highlights the importance for us as teachers and care givers to build self-esteem and resilience in our students and to provide them with the tools and skills to develop their confidence. How do these results align with your experiences of performance anxiety?
I hope to have the opportunity to continue research in this field and I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts. Have you personally experienced MPA or does someone that you care for struggle with it?
I am passionate about early intervention of MPA and providing a caring and supportive learning environment for musicians and their families. Workshops or one on one coaching to provide strategies to better support our students (children and adults) are available for teachers and organisations for professional development.
Workshops for parents are also available and contain tips and strategies to assist parents and carers to provide support to students in performance aftercare. I’m happy to customise workshops to suit your needs, so do reach out if I can be of assistance. Please do reach out!
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