Music Performance Anxiety on the Classical Guitar: Expert Strategies in Psychology and Pedagogy

Autor: Daniel Ramjattan

November 2022 DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.20681.01125Thesis for: Doctor of Musical Arts Advisor: Jeffrey McFadden

Music performance anxiety (MPA) seriously affects nearly all musicians at some point in their lives and may cause musicians to abandon their careers or develop maladaptive coping mechanisms to manage their symptoms. While peer-reviewed studies have explored a broad array of psychological treatments for MPA, a paucity of research exists regarding expert classical guitarists’ recommendations for MPA symptom management. Since all post-secondary guitar instructors at the expert level interact with MPA in themselves and their students, and each instrumental discipline has idiosyncratic presentations of MPA, this dissertation seeks to understand common approaches and MPA management strategies from the perspective of classical guitar instructors at the post-secondary level—a cohort which includes the researcher. The project compares guitar experts’ recommendations with existing treatment protocols from psychology to understand MPA from a deeper scientific and heuristic perspective while providing pathways for novel research in this topic. This research concluded that guitarists’ approaches prioritized performance excellence and complete mental and physical preparation to manage MPA, while psychological treatments prioritized cognitive components of MPA, musician’s well-being, and symptom reduction. An impressive convergence of approaches appeared in the guitar and psychology literature, particularly regarding the use of mindfulness strategies and strategies from sports psychology.

Music Performance Anxiety on the Classical Guitar: Expert Strategies in Psychology and Pedagogy

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