The aim of the study was to explore the sources concerning musical perspectives about performance anxiety and their influence on musicians. Since this study is a review of the available literature on this topic, I used mainly books, articles and reported case studies. The problems encountered while writing this dissertation were the lack of material available on the subject of using music to deal with musicians who suffer from performance anxiety. Musicians listen to music differently from non-musicians, and therefore, when using music to deal with their performance anxiety, a different approach would have to be used. In this dissertation four main perspectives of music and their relationship to performance anxiety are discussed. My general conclusion is that, although each theory sees performance anxiety through a different light, they all have the same general thinking about performance anxiety. Performance anxiety has to be dealt with separately and differently with each musician. Unfortunately there is no set pattern or plan that can be set down to alleviate performance anxiety. However, common symptoms and useful ways to deal with them are discussed. One very important point that I realised early on in my dissertation, was that performance anxiety has to be dealt with at an early age. Young musicians often suffer severely from performance anxiety. If this can be recognised early in musicians’ careers, they will start to learn to cope with the symptoms; it will become part of their learning process as musicians. I feel that there could be a more open approach to performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is often seen as a sign of weakness and is therefore often not discussed openly. The music therapist Pixie Holland says that people with a lot of stress in their lives are often not willing to admit that they have a problem coping with stress. Therefore, the first step to dealing with performance anxiety is for musicians to admit that they suffer from it and cannot cope with it by themselves. I recommend to musicians to read as much as possible about the subject of performance anxiety. The more one knows what happens while suffering from performance anxiety, the easier it might be to deal with it. Even though there is much documentation and literature available on the subject of using music to relieve anxiety and stress, there was only a small amount available on the specific use of music to relieve musicians’ performance anxiety. I therefore recommend further study on the effects of music on performance anxiety that musicians suffer in a musical performance situation. Copyright
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2010.