Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Exploring Musical Performance Anxiety in Children

Charlene Ryan
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 13 Number 3: Page 83 (September 1998)

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Abstract: Performance anxiety was examined in 26 12-year-old piano students by comparing heart rates monitored continuously through a piano lesson and a recital performance for each subject. The state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC) was administered to subjects at the recital. The trait portion of the STAIC, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, and individual interviews were completed during non-performance times before and after the recital. Results revealed significant increases in heart rate between baseline and recital, and between the "sitting stage-side," "walking onstage," and "playing" stages of the recital. Significant correlations were found between self-esteem, particularly social self-esteem, and both state anxiety and trait anxiety. Seventeen of the 22 subjects interviewed reported feelings of anxiety when performing in piano recitals, many of them noting a fear of making mistakes in front of people as the primary cause

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