The ISM Trust publishes pioneering Performance Anxiety – a practical guide for music teachers

  • Ground-breaking publication covers identification and management of performance anxiety over three key time periods applying the skills and knowledge of sports psychology
  • Written for ISM Trust by Dr Alison Daubney (PhD) and Gregory Daubney (MSc, MBPsS)
  • Available to download or view for free on www.ism.org/performance-anxiety-guide

The ISM Trust, the sister charity of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, has published Performance Anxiety – a practical guide for music teachers, a ground-breaking publication designed to provide music teachers with a comprehensive guide to the identification and management of performance anxiety over three key time periods: long-term strategies, the week leading up for a performance, and 24 hours leading up to, throughout and after a performance.

This pioneering guide has been written for the ISM Trust by music education specialist Dr Alison Daubney (PhD) and sports psychology specialist Gregory Daubney (MSc, MBPsS).

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

‘In 2014, the ISM Trust was created to advance education, the arts and to promote health. The primary focus of the Trust is to deliver high quality professional development by leading practitioners from the ISM and also in partnership with other organisations. The ISM Trust is dedicated to creating pioneering resources to support music and all those who work in the sector including music educators, performers, and composers, and delivers its work through webinars, regional seminars, training events and advice packs.

This vital guide and the wider professional development work of the ISM Trust’s comes at a time when the public profile of mental health in musicians is higher than it has ever been. It will not only provide teachers and performers with practical and easy to use strategies, but also with a clear understanding of why these strategies are likely to be effective.’

Dr Alison Daubney (PhD) and Gregory Daubney (MSc, MBPsS) said:

'Performance anxiety is a commonly occurring psychological issue, the negative impacts of which no student should be left to face on their own. This practical guide is a rare and vitally important piece of work bringing together the two strong evidence informed fields of Sport & Exercise Psychology and Music Education. We are delighted to work with the ISM Trust to provide music teachers in all settings with an extensive bank of easy-to-use practical strategies to help their students effectively handle performance anxiety and get the most out of their musical learning.'

About Performance Anxiety – a practical guide for music teachers

Performance Anxiety – a practical guide for music teachers has been designed to provide music teachers with a comprehensive guide to the identification and management of performance anxiety over three key time periods:

Part A of the booklet introduces a range of long-term strategies that music teachers can adopt throughout their work to promote healthy emotional and psychological responses to performance, for example through developing their understanding of ways to promote a positive motivational climate. It aims to empower teachers to develop an adaptive and flexible psychological mindset in their students as part of their everyday teaching. Key concepts include the roles of perfectionism, motivation, social comparison, fear of failure and deliberate practice.

Part B of the booklet moves the focus to the week leading up to a performance – a time of potentially increased anxiety. Anxiety, and musicians’ reactions to it, commonly intensifies as the performance time nears. Music teachers are provided with a series of flexible strategies and techniques they can use with their students. Each strategy acts on different manifestations of anxiety and an easy to follow flow chart assists teachers in identifying an appropriate psychological coping strategy for students to use. Key strategies include imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, cognitive reframing, brief centering exercises and emotional acceptance strategies.

Part C of the booklet recommends effective coping strategies and techniques that teachers and parents can develop in musicians in the build up to, throughout and after the performance. It identifies common response patterns to performance anxiety occurring throughout this emotionally charged time period. Strategies focusing on sleep, nutrition, pre-performance routines, breathing techniques, body posture, performance checklists, concentration whilst performing and effective evaluation, are all provided to help students manage their performance anxiety. The aim of these strategies is to help students develop strong self-confidence and emotional resilience.

About the ISM Trust

The ISM Trust, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ (ISM) charitable arm, was created in 2014 to advance education, health and the arts, and in particular music and music education. The Trust promotes the value of music and offers invaluable support, guidance and skills based training to all those working within the music sector including music educators, performers and composers.