This study presents the development, administration and evaluation of two brief group interventions for music performance anxiety (MPA) aimed at reducing anxiety and improving performance quality. A cognitive behavioural therapy intervention was developed based on an existing empirically-supported treatment Chilled (Rapee et al., 2006), focusing on cognitive, physiological and behavioural symptoms. The second treatment, anxiety sensitivity reduction, targeted primarily physiological symptoms and included relaxation strategies. Interventions were administered in a workshop format over one day with four intervention sessions, preceded by a pedagogic practice skills session that functioned as a control/placebo intervention. A quasi-experimental group randomization design compared the interventions in a heterogeneous sample of community musicians. Sixty-eight participants completed measures of trait anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, depression, and MPA. Participants performed four times (pre- and post-placebo, post-treatment and follow-up) and were assessed for state anxiety and performance quality at each performance. Results indicated that both interventions offered moderately significant gains for the musicians: anxiety was reduced and performance quality improved after each intervention and changes were maintained at follow-up. Anxiety sensitivity reduction showed a trend to exceed the CBT-based interventions, but a larger, higher-powered study is needed to confirm this advantage.
- anxiety sensitivity
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- community musicians
- music performance anxiety
- performance quality