Getting butterflies to fly in formation – on art of managing performance anxiety

Francisca Skoogh, an international concert pianist, psychologist and researcher at the Malmö Academy of Music, wants to support tomorrow’s trained musicians to better know themselves, thereby enabling them to manage stage fright.

‟We must dare to talk about stress in order to get past it”, is her advice to music students taking the course ‟The Performing Person”, which examines psychological reactions to being in the spotlight.

Francisca Skoogh has extensive experience as a concert pianist and has performed on major stages around the world. However, she has struggled with performance anxiety herself. However fantastic it may feel to play in a concert, perform for agents or compete for awards, engaging in music at that level is still a difficult art, she thinks.

‟Everything happens in the moment and you are also judged in that moment. There is no retake.”

Learning to be prepared

The classical music environment can be tough, cold and hierarchical. Perfection is a must, and there is no space for flaws in a world of strict rules and set ceremonies. At the same time, as a musician, you must not be perceived as a robot.

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