Can Taught Sung Improvisation within the Vocal Coaching Studio Mitigate the Effects of Music Performance Anxiety in Singers?

Published: 7 May 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/yhsydm9s4m.1
Christabel Heasman-Cossins, Debbie Winter,


Music performance anxiety is a prevalent issue among musicians, including both instrumentalists and singers (Kenny, 2011), impacting their ability to perform (Ladano, 2016). Research (Carroll, 2021) suggests music coaches are a preferred source of help in ameliorating music performance anxiety, but vocal coaches largely lack the training to provide this. This paper seeks to explore sung improvisation as a strategy to alleviate music performance anxiety among singers within the vocal coaching studio. Previous research (Allen, 2011; Kim, 2008; Kim 2005) suggests music improvisation can reduce music performance anxiety in instrumentalists. However, its application with singers remains underexplored.


Steps to reproduce

Three participants of different ages and gender identities sang in front of an audience and then underwent six 30-minute vocal coaching sessions involving sung improvisation over two months. Post the intervention they performed again under similar conditions. Self-report measures, including the Kenny Music Performance Anxiety Inventory (K-MPAI) (Kenny, 2016) and the Music Performance Anxiety Inventory for Adolescents (MPAI-A) (Osbourne and Kenny, 2005), were used to assess levels of music performance anxiety prior to, and post the intervention. Participant feedback and observations provided additional insights into the benefits and challenges of using sung improvisation for music performance anxiety management in singers.


University of Wales Trinity Saint David


Creativity in Education, Music Therapy, Music Performance