Taborsky, Christopher. (2007). Musical performance anxiety: a review of literature. Applications of Research in Music Education, 26 (15), 25-15.
Summary of the Article: The article begins with the author explaining that students that are going to perform often end up with performance anxiety. They tend to forget words and miss notes on top of sweaty palms and having dry mouth. Taborsky says that telling a student that an incredibly prepared piece will make the anxiety go away is not the best thing to say. It is often really uncontrollable and can make a performer physically not able to play. Researchers have found that the increased number of hours of practice before a performance does not guarantee success upon that performance. Researchers have compared the effects of musical performance on amateurs, high school, college students, and professional musicians. They had found that the anxiety level and heart rates in a jury setting was higher than in a non-jury setting. They also did research with different groups of people. Gender, race, and instruments were a variable in terms of these studies. They found that females performed significantly better than males in a high anxiety setting. The most anxiety was given during a solo performance than a group performance. They believe that social phobia is a trait that can lead to higher anxiety during a performance. The peak of anxiety is often when the performer is walking on stage. Based on the findings, music teachers should encourage students to play in front of people at a younger age so that it becomes comfortable for the student to perform in a high anxiety setting. Adaptive anxiety, for example, a professional musician that has been playing on stage for many years had “less maladaptive anxiety, and less cognitive and emotional anxiety than amateur musicians.” String players were often found to have the most anxiety out of all instrumentalists and their gender or age had no effect on this study. Age is often a more important factor when it comes to amateur musicians. Younger children often have higher anxiety than an older child. Music teachers should prevent debilitating effects on students at a young age so the effects will not be so significant at an older age. A study of drugs during a musical performance was done with thirty one string instrumentalists from colleges in London, England. They used a beta-blocking drug and a benzodiazepine drug. Each subject performed a recital twice. The first drug was given before one of the recitals and after having been given a placebo, the second recital was given. Researchers found no major differences in physical symptoms between the active drug and placebo in either group. However, there was a significant decrease in pulse rate and higher bow control scores after the beta blocker, but not in the benzodiazepine group.
Research method: The author used research, case studies and questionnaires to research the topic of anxiety in musical performers. Taborsky used mixed research in order to carry out the article. This included: basic research, applied research, quantitative research, and qualitative research. He used students of different ages, genders, and different numbers of them to provide as close to accurate results.
Author’s findings: Taborsky found that further study must be used in order to investigate existing issues with performance