Musical performance anxiety is a type of anxiety experienced by some people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Musicians who experience this type of anxiety are critical and self-evaluative before, during, and after performances. This negative self-evaluation causes disrupted concentration and a host of physical symptoms that result in performance below the ability of the musician.
Why do some musicians experience such debilitating performance anxiety? When musical performance anxiety is experienced as part of SAD, it is likely due to a combination of factors such as innate temperament and negative early performance experiences. In general, researchers have found that females are more likely than males to experience this type of anxiety.
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