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Stage fright: its experience as a problem and coping with it.

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1007/s00420-010-0608-1
  • Music
  • Students
  • Anxiety
  • Task Performance And Analysis
  • Stress
  • Psychological
  • Medicine
  • Musicology


PURPOSE AND METHOD: This questionnaire survey of 190 university music students assessed negative feelings of music performance anxiety (MPA) before performing, the experience of stage fright as a problem, and how closely they are associated with each other. The study further investigated whether the experience of stage fright as a problem and negative feelings of MPA predict the coping behavior of the music students. Rarely addressed coping issues were assessed, i.e., self-perceived effectiveness of different coping strategies, knowledge of possible risks and acceptance of substance-based coping strategies, and need for more support.RESULTS: The results show that one-third of the students experienced stage fright as a problem and that this was only moderately correlated with negative feelings of MPA. The experience of stage fright as a problem significantly predicted the frequency of use and the acceptance of medication as a coping strategy. Breathing exercises and self-control techniques were rated as effective as medication. Finally, students expressed a strong need to receive more support (65%) and more information (84%) concerning stage fright.CONCLUSION: Stage fright was experienced as a problem and perceived as having negative career consequences by a considerable percentage of the surveyed students. In addition to a desire for more help and support, the students expressed an openness and willingness to seriously discuss and address the topic of stage fright. This provides a necessary and promising basis for optimal career preparation and, hence, an opportunity to prevent occupational problems in professional musicians. [Authors]

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