Mindfulness Meditation: A new tool for understanding and regulating musical performance anxiety An affective neuroscientific perspective

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

Ross T. Harbaugh - Committee Chair


The purpose of this essay is to propose a new treatment for Musical Performance Anxiety (MPA) called Mindfulness Meditation (MM), a technique for brain function manipulation, learned through oriented training, in which individuals can actually control the neurology of their emotions by reducing their negative emotions and improving the positive ones (Goleman, 2003b).Richard Davidson, Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues (2003b) proved that through Mindfulness Meditation subjects were actually able to decrease negative emotions and increase positive ones, thereby enhancing their immune function and emotional balance. This research has been identified within a new discipline named Affective Neuroscience (Davidson & Sutton, 1995).The brain side activation shift achievable through Mindfulness Meditation is a powerful tool that will enable performers to regulate negative affects involved in abnormal levels of Musical Performance Anxiety. Through the present study, performers will be able to use methods, such as the one proposed by Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al. (2003b), to achieve emotional balance, thus preparing themselves for performances in a healthier way. Regulating MPA with Mindfulness Meditation promises to have a significant impact on musical performance skills. The essay has suggested future studies on the subject.


Music; Education, Music; Psychology, Clinical

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