A YOGA INTERVENTION FOR MUSIC PERFORMANCE ANXIETY IN CONSERVATORY STUDENTS

AUTHOR(S): Judith R. S. Stern, Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Stefan G. Hofmann

SOURCE: Medical Problems of Performing Artists

ABSTRACT: Music performance anxiety adversely affects a large minority of musicians. There is a need for additional treatment strategies, especially those that might be more acceptable to musicians than existing therapies. This pilot study examined the effectiveness of a 9-week yoga practice on reducing music performance anxiety in undergraduate and graduate music conservatory students, including both vocalists and instrumentalists. The intervention consisted of fourteen 60-minute yoga classes approximately twice a week and a brief daily home practice. Of the 24 students enrolled in the study, 17 attended the post-intervention assessment. Participants who completed the measures at both pre- and post-intervention assessments showed large decreases in music performance anxiety as well as in trait anxiety. Improvements were sustained at 7- to 14-month follow-up. No changes were observed in mood or in music performance anxiety as retrospectively perceived in group performance or practice settings. Participants generally provided positive comments about the program and its benefits. This study suggests that yoga is a promising intervention for MPA in conservatory students, and therefore warrants further research.

 


YOGA AMELIORATES PERFORMANCE ANXIETY AND MOOD DISTURBANCE IN YOUNG PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS

AUTHOR(S): Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Stephanie M. Shorter, Stephen Cope, Grace Wyshak, Elyse Sklar

SOURCE: Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

ABSTRACT: Yoga and meditation can alleviate stress, anxiety, mood disturbance, and musculoskeletal problems, and can enhance cognitive and physical performance. Professional musicians experience high levels of stress, performance anxiety, and debilitating performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). The goal of this controlled study was to evaluate the benefits of yoga and meditation for musicians. Young adult professional musicians who volunteered to participate in a 2-month program of yoga and meditation were randomized to a yoga lifestyle intervention group (n = 15) or to a group practicing yoga and meditation only (n = 15). Additional musicians were recruited to a no-practice control group (n = 15). Both yoga groups attended three Kripalu Yoga or meditation classes each week. The yoga lifestyle group also experienced weekly group practice and discussion sessions as part of their more immersive treatment. All participants completed baseline and end-program self-report questionnaires that evaluated music performance anxiety, mood, PRMDs, perceived stress, and sleep quality; many participants later completed a 1-year follow up assessment using the same questionnaires.

Both yoga groups showed a trend towards less music performance anxiety and significantly less general anxiety/tension, depression, and anger at end-program relative to controls, but showed no changes in PRMDs, stress, or sleep. Similar results in the two yoga groups, despite psychosocial differences in their interventions, suggest that the yoga and meditation techniques themselves may have mediated the improvements. Our results suggest that yoga and meditation techniques can reduce performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians.

 


EFFECTS OF A YOGA LIFESTYLE INTERVENTION ON PERFORMANCE-RELATED CHARACTERISTICS OF MUSICIANS: A PRELIMINARY STUDY

AUTHOR(S): Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Stephen Cope

SOURCE: Medical Science Monitor

SUMMARY:

Background: Previous research has suggested that yoga and meditation practices are effective in stress management, alleviating anxiety and musculoskeletal problems and improving mood and cognitive and physical performance. Musicians experience a number of challenges in their profession including high levels of stress, performance anxiety and performance-related musculoskeletal conditions. Yoga and meditation techniques are therefore potentially useful practices for professional musicians.

Material/Methods: Musicians enrolled in a prestigious 2-month summer fellowship program were invited to participate in a regular yoga and meditation program at a yoga center during the course of the program. The 10 participants in the yoga program completed baseline and end-program questionnaires evaluating performance-related musculoskeletal conditions, performance anxiety, mood and flow experience. Fellows not participating in the yoga program were recruited to serve as controls and completed the same assessments (N=8).

Results: The yoga participants showed some improvements relative to control subjects on most measures, with the relative improvement in performance anxiety being the greatest.

Conclusions: The results from this preliminary study suggest that yoga and meditation may be beneficial as a routine practice to reduce performance anxiety in musicians.

 

 


YOGA REDUCES PERFORMANCE ANXIETY IN ADOLESCENT MUSICIANS

AUTHOR(S): Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Bethany Butzer, Stephanie M. Shorter, Kristen M. Reinhardt, and Stephen Cope

SOURCE: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

ABSTRACT: Professional musicians often experience high levels of stress, music performance anxiety (MPA), and performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). Given the fact that most professional musicians begin their musical training before the age of 12 (Nagel, 1987), it is important to identify interventions that will address these issues from an early age. The present study is the first to examine the effects of yoga on MPA and PRMDs in a group of adolescent musicians (mean age = 16 years). Participants took part in a 6-week yoga intervention (n = 84) or a no-treatment control condition (n = 51). Yoga participants showed significant baseline to end-program reductions on several measures of MPA; however, the results for PRMDs were inconsistent. The findings suggest that yoga is an effective and enjoyable way for adolescents to reduce MPA and perhaps even prevent it in the future.