Performance values – an artistic research perspective on music performance anxiety in classical music
Music performance anxiety (MPA) has been studied mainly within the field of psychology and has been defined as a sub-type of social anxiety. Musicians suffering from MPA are commonly referred to individual psychological treatment, but the condition is not yet researched from an artistic perspective. The hypothesis put forward in this article is that the issues concerning MPA are part of a complex system of interactions between performance values and perfectionism and that musicians in general are not given the necessary tools to tackle the anxiety. One of the challenges is that Western classical music performance has many built-in values that need to be problematized and researched in order to address the problems with MPA. Hence, MPA is not to be considered as solely an individual problem but should rather be seen as the result of a wider structural issue related to the commodification of classical Western music and its focus on perfection and virtuosity. This article gives an example from the field of artistic research on how it is possible for the performer herself to develop methods to understand and emotionally regulate the impact of perfectionism in Western classical music.
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