Music Performance Resources

Part II of The Musician’s Way empowers musicians to overcome performance anxiety and become fearless performing artists. The following resources complement those chapters.

Overcome Performance Anxiety, Conquer Stage Fright

Excelling Under Pressure | Becoming a Confident Performer, via The Musician’s Way Blog.

Conquering Performance Anxiety from Inside Out, by Helen Spielman. A concise article with strategies and tips. Articles to help musicians conquer stage fright, by Noa Kageyama.

Gerald Klickstein on Music Performance Anxiety. Interview on the Psychology Today blog (2016).
The 3 Roots of Performance Anxiety, by Gerald Klickstein

For mental health resources, see the Wellness page.

Books, Chapters, Articles on Overcoming Stage Fright

The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness, by Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 19th printing, 2023). The most complete resource ever created for musicians and  teachers. Read reviews.

Performance Success, by Don Greene (Theater Arts, 2001).
The Performance Anxiety Workbook, by Eric Maisel (Back Stage, 2005).
The Psychology of Music Performance Anxiety, by Dianna Kenney (Oxford, 2011).

“Negative Emotions in Music Making: The Problem of Performance Anxiety,” by A. Steptoe, in Music and Emotion, ed. Juslin & Sloboda, 291-307 (Oxford, 2001).

“The Fear of Performance,” by Elizabeth Valentine, in Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding, ed. John Rink (Cambridge, 2002).

Music performance anxiety: New insights from young musicians,” by Kenny and Osborne, Advances in Cognitive Psychology (2/2-3), 2006.

Audition and Competition Strategies

See p. 217-222 of The Musician’s Way.

Nail Your Audition | The Competition Question. Must-read articles by Gerald Klickstein.

Symphony Auditions – Preparation and Execution, by Douglas Yeo.

What the Fach?! A Guide for Opera Singers Auditioning & Working in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (2nd Edition, 2010), by Philip Shepard.

Competitions: Behind the Scenes. Report from Musical America (2012).

Online Competition Directories
Musical America Directory of Competitions.
World Federation of International Music Competitions.
Bridge. Competition and job listings. Free trial.

Stage Deportment and Presence

See p. 171-179 of The Musician’s Way.
The Musician's Way book cover

The Look of Music. Does stage presence affect competition outcomes? Harvard Gazette (2013).

A Musical illusion. Proof that on-stage gestures alter listeners’ perceptions.

How to Improve Stage Presence. Articles by Gerald Klickstein.

Visual Cues Impact Judgment of Piano Performances,” Pacific Standard, 2011.

Eye of the Beholder: Stage Entrance Behavior and Facial Expression Affect Continuous Quality Ratings in Music Performance,” Frontiers in Psychology, 2017

Agile versus awkward stage deportment. Video for classical musicians, via Rice University.

Communicating with the Body in Performance,” by Jane Davidson, in Musical Performance, ed. John Rink, (Cambridge 2002).

Stage Presence from Head to Toe, by Karen Hagberg (Scarecrow 2003). Basic stage deportment for classical musicians. Preview on Google.

Beta-Blockers and Musicians

Musicians and Beta-Blockers.” Are beta-blockers safe, effective, and appropriate? A top-ranked article by Gerald Klickstein on The Musician’s Way Blog (2010).

Is Popping Pills the Sure Way to Beat Performance Nerves?” The Strad, 2013/2010.

Beta Blockers Help Some Musicians Fight Stage Fright,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2013.

The Ethics and Legality of Beta Blockers for Performance Anxiety: What Every Educator Should Know,” by Engelke and Ewell, College Music Symposium, Oct., 2011.

Athlete at Beijing Olympics stripped of medals for using beta-blockersDiscover, Aug., 2008.
In Defense of the Beta-Blocker. Bioethicist Carl Elliott on the 2008 Olympic controversy. The Atlantic, Aug., 2008.