Music performance anxiety (MPA) affects many individuals independent of age, gender, experience, and hours of practice. In order to prevent MPA from happening or to alleviate it when it occurs, a review of the literature about its prevention and treatment was done. Forty-four articles, meeting evidence-based medicine (EBM) criteria, were identified and analyzed. Performance repertoire should be chosen based on the musician's skill level, and it should be practiced to the point of automaticity. Because of this, the role of music teachers is essential in preventing MPA. Prevention is the most effective method against MPA. Several treatments (psychological as well as pharmacological) have been studied on subjects in order to determine the best treatment for MPA. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) seems to be the most effective, but further investigation is desired. Some musicians, in addition to CBT, also take beta-blockers; however, these drugs should only be prescribed occasionally after analyzing the situation and considering the contraindications and possible side effects. Despite these conclusions, more randomized studies with larger, homogeneous groups of subjects would be desirable (according to the EBM criteria), as well as support for the necessity of both MPA prevention and optimized methods of treatment when it does occur.
Med Probl Perform Art. 2011 Sep;26(3):164-71. Brugués AO. Prat de la Riba, 84 7°-4, 25004 Lleida, Spain. Tel +34 626203052. firstname.lastname@example.org.