Performance anxiety is a topic which interests many of us. For some musicians, it is a key asset which improves their performance. Others notice anxiety affecting skill levels. Are we born anxious or is it a learned response? Will anxiety fade as one ages and gains experience? How can a musician manage better? How can teachers help students cope?
Although stepping on stage feels more natural to some than to others, everyone can learn to perform. Some musicians have enjoyed performing since childhood. They feel it's an important means of expression. Whereas others don't feel comfortable performing.
The capacity to perform has traditionally been considered a gift one is born with. Professional musicians have felt that aknowledging anxiety would be embarrassing. They fear it could be interpreted as a lack of professionalism. It is important to understand performing as an ability, not as a characteristic which some have and others lack. Abilities can be learned and taught. Determined practice brings results. With proper support and diligent practice, an anxious musician could become a shining star.