Rebecca Herman (RCM) - 2019-20 Students

An investigation into the effects of a mindfulness intervention for conservatoire students with music performance anxiety

My research examines the effects of mindfulness on performance anxiety in conservatoire music students. Performance Anxiety is one of the most debilitating challenges facing musicians, plaguing significant numbers of performers of all ages and abilities and often leading to termination of musical studies and careers. Performance anxiety affects performers in numerous ways, including impaired performance quality, reduced enjoyment of performing, and performance avoidance. The consequences extend beyond the stage and can adversely affect performers’ health and wellbeing, relationships, identity and self-worth. Mindfulness (defined as the ability to focus on, and accept, experiences occurring in the present moment without judgement) may offer an effective solution, given its efficacy in reducing anxiety in both clinical and non-clinical populations. Despite its increasing popularity in contemporary culture and promising results in relevant fields, mindfulness for musicians remains largely unmapped territory. This PhD poses the following questions:

• Is mindfulness effective in reducing performance anxiety in student musicians?

• If so, how specifically do the benefits of mindfulness map onto the challenges of performance anxiety?

• How can a mindfulness intervention be most effectively designed and delivered for student musicians?

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