Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


John J. Cali School of Music

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Karen D. Goodman

Committee Member

Lisa DeLorenzo

Committee Member

Ruth Propper


The purpose of this study was to examine the manifestation of anxiety, the role it plays in the life and practice of the music therapist, as well as exploring the techniques and exercises utilized by the therapist for this or her own care. This explorative research study used a survey approach to gather qualitative data based on both practicing music therapists and music therapy students’ perceptions and experiences related to performance anxiety within their training and clinical work. A total of 100 surveys were completed online by music therapy students, interns, novice clinicians, as well as seasoned music therapists and was then analyzed by the researcher to find what factors contribute to anxiety within the profession of music therapy. The factors explored were interpersonal skill, ability to transition through interventions, and musical ability, with the addition of the participant’s ability to contribute their own opinion. In some cases, participants voiced potential issues of anxiety beyond the clinical setting. Performance anxiety can affect an individual in their ability to complete certain skills and tasks; it can manifest through combinations of affective, cognitive, somatic, and behavioral symptoms and it can have a direct impact on the therapeutic process and the client-therapist relationship (Kenny, 2011). After a review of literature, it became apparent that the research and material relating to the dynamic of stress and anxiety within the clinician and the clinical setting is scarce. In addition to the limitation of resources on the subject, a large number of the sample group found that anxiety does exist within the day-to-day clinical work and that it is a common issue within the developing practice of music therapy. The study found that performance anxiety might be more common in the field than it is accounted for especially within the student, intern, and novice clinician.

Included in

Music Therapy Commons