Handbook of Stress in the Occupations
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Handbook of Stress in the Occupations

  • New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper

The Handbook of Stress in the Occupations sets a new agenda for stress research and gives fresh impetus to scholars who wish to focus on issues and problems associated with specific jobs, some of which have received little attention in the past.
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Chapter 20: Music Performance Anxiety and Occupational Stress Among Classical Musicians

Michiko Yoshie, Eriko Kanazawa, Kazutoshi Kudo, Kimitaka Nakazawa and Tatsuyuki Ohtsuki

Extract

20 Music performance anxiety and occupational stress among classical musicians Michiko Yoshie, Eriko Kanazawa, Kazutoshi Kudo, Tatsuyuki Ohtsuki and Kimitaka Nakazawa ACTUAL CONDITIONS OF STRESS AND ANXIETY IN CLASSICAL MUSICIANS Review of Previous Literature Music performance anxiety (MPA) is defined as ‘the experience of persisting, distressful apprehension about and/or actual impairment of, performance skills in a public context, to a degree unwarranted given the individual’s musical aptitude, training, and level of preparation’ (Salmon, 1990, p. 3). Similar to anxiety in general (Lang, 1978), MPA manifests itself at the subjective, physiological and behavioural levels. At the subjective level musicians would experience anxiety, tension, apprehension, dread or panic, and cognitive problems such as loss of concentration, memory failure and misreading of the musical score (Brotons, 1994; Steptoe, 2001). The physiological symptoms include increased heart rate, sweating, inhibition of salivation, the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, and gastrointestinal disturbances (Brotons, 1994; Craske & Craig, 1984; Fredrikson & Gunnarsson, 1992; Steptoe, 2001; Wesner et al., 1990). One could also observe the behavioural changes in a performing musician such as knees/ hands trembling, arm and neck stiffness, shoulder lifting, difficulty in maintaining posture and moving naturally, and failures of technique (Brotons, 1994; Steptoe, 2001). Research has shown that MPA is a serious and frequent problem for musicians at various ages and skill levels. Understandably, amateur musicians (Yoshie & Shigemasu, 2007) and music students (Kaspersen & Gotestam, 2002; Wesner et al., 1990) have been shown to be afflicted by MPA. Several surveys have demonstrated the high incidence...

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