Music performance anxiety: An investigation into the efficacy of cognitive hypnotherapy and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing when applied to grade 8 pianists
Numerous investigations into music performance anxiety have focused on the conscious mind. However, little research has focused on implicit processes for alleviation of this condition. Cognitive hypnotherapy (CH) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), therapies which target implicit processes, were investigated in an intervention study with advanced pianists (n = 46). Participants were of mixed gender aged 18–26 years (three over 30) and were randomly assigned to a therapy or control group. The therapy groups received two interventions of either CH or EMDR during a two-week period between two concerts. Quantitative data were collected through performance assessment, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and a self-report questionnaire (SRQ). The SRQ and a log of performance experience also allowed for qualitative assessment. Results showed that both therapy groups (but not the control) experienced a significant reduction in state anxiety post therapy and a significant improvement in performance. Trait anxiety decreased significantly below baseline levels post intervention in the EMDR group. This is an important area for future research in music psychology and has broader implications in other fields.