Understanding and Overcoming Performance Anxiety: Strategies for Finding Performance Success
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In this thesis, I explore factors that lead to the development of performance anxiety. I then define the difference between somatic and cognitive anxiety. Much of the research in the field of performance psychology pertains to athletes. Literature on music performance anxiety takes much of the sports psychology research findings and applies it to the music discipline. As a result, I discuss how performance anxiety affects musicians and students. I approach this concept from an educator’s perspective with the intent to aid students in overcoming their performance anxiety. The outcome of my research is a variety of exercises that can be implemented in the classroom to reduce experienced performance anxiety in students. In compiling these exercises I sent out a survey to collegiate musicians who frequently perform in intense environments and will continue to do so in their careers. In this survey I asked them how frequently they feel nervous or anxious when performing and what exercises they regularly do to decrease performance anxiety. Finally, I review my findings and offer conclusions about my research, the exercises compiled, and the use of these exercises in the classroom.