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Performance Center

The Performance Center introduce psychological methods and knowledge that exist within performance, music psychology and sports psychology to students at the Artistic master's programs in music.

The Malmö Academy of Music is one of few music institutions in the world that applies psychological science and research during education. Our Performance Center organizes seminars, workshops and labs where students can develop their musical performance. It is also a meeting place for music and psychology students with the aim to exchanging experiences and knowledge. The students are also encouraged to carry out their degree projects together.

Ongoing projects:
The Performing Human Being – a unique course for musicians
"You just have to practice enough, and everything will be fine!"

Is it really that simple? Why does it feel so hard at times? The course aims to provide psychological knowledge about how we function on stage and as performers. It covers topics that may be of interest to music students who want to further develop and deepen psychological aspects of their musicianship.The course includes lectures, seminars and group work on learning, memorization as well as mental, cognitive and psychological processes for example performances and rehearsals. There will also be an opportunity for participants to raise specific problems, situations, or other issues related to the topic for us as a group to work with. The Performing Human Being is based on student active participation, their reflections and input. It features work shop and discussions. It is an opportunity to learn from each other and of course from the research material presented. Students are encouraged to bring their instruments.

Relevant student papers:
"Making a small mistake is actually not the whole world." A thematic analysis of six classical musicians' perspectives on performance anxiety. Emma Holmgren, Department of Psychology, 2020.

Previous projects:
Admission for female conductors
The project runs between 2019-2020 and addresses / problematises the conductor's role in Western classical art music, focusing on women's opportunities to develop in the profession. The project has been granted funding from Lund University's for projects within equality.

Feedback on the course The Performing Human Being

Student A:
I had my exam concert last week and I wanted to let you know that the second session was particularly useful. I applied some of the aspects that we talked about, such as making eye contact with the audience and I not focus so much on the technical aspects, but on the musical aspects and what I wanted to convey to the audience. I felt better about myself and generally I was happy with how I played.

Student B:
I am very pleased with how I performed in the beting. I was able to express musical ideas and not just survive the situation. In the beginning I was shaky, but I knew it would pass so I didn't fixate on it. I think talking about tremors has relaxed my attitude towards it happening, which releases some of the physical tension. A positive cycle! It's still not completely out of the picture, the fear of uncontrollable shaking is still there, but I definitely feel like I'm going into the right direction. I found the positive feedback you and Simon gave me really encouraging. I also found the strategy of planning, what to think about while performing, very useful.

Over all, this course provided me with structure to frame my own process with performance anxiety. There was a lot of space to think and ask questions.

I am very grateful!
Student C:
Det är viktigt för oss unga musiker att tala och diskutera kring hur vi känner oss inför/under och efter ett framförande. Det är något som inte ofta tas upp på de individuella instrumentlektionerna. Men för att det vi lär oss i våra instrumentlektioner överhuvudtaget ska fungera i ett framförande bör vi utveckla strategier för att dels klara av den mentala pressen samt att tygla (eller kanske snarare acceptera) de kroppsliga "förändringar" som sker i samband med ett framförande.

Jag tycker att kursen dels gav mig verktyg för att utveckla dessa strategier, men kanske viktigast av allt, så gav de mig perspektiv på att jag inte är ensam om att ha stora besvär före, under och efter ett framförande. Det har känts bra att få diskutera detta med mina kurskamrater.

Under en individuell sittning tillsammans med Francisca Skoogh och Simon Granér fick jag diskutera mina tankar kring mitt spel och min prestation på scen och hur jag ser på min egna prestation både under själva prestationen men också efteråt. Det jag tog med mig från den "masterclassen" var att utmana mina invanda beteenden före ett framförande, att acceptera att jag inte är så bra på att utvärdera mig själv och hur jag kan bli bättre på just att utvärdera "rättvist".

Jag tycker att det behövs mera diskussion kring ämnet "performance psykologi" på musikhögskolan, det är i all fall något jag vill fortsätta diskutera och lära mig.

Student D:
I participated in the course because I had had bad experiences in audition situations. Many times in different audition situations or in masterclasses I became very nervous, my thoughts were very negative towards myself, my hands started to shake and it became almost impossible to continue playing. My biggest problem was my thoughts about having a bad finger technique.

During the first year I learnt many important facts about performance anxiety that helped me understand why I became so nervous and why my thoughts affected my performance so much. It was important to learn psychologically why my shaky hands appeared and why I thought I was so bad at playing specific parts (self-efficacy). I also learnt that it is possible to train this skill, become better at it and there are many ways of getting there.Thank you for the course! This has been a very important step towards becoming a happier musician.


Francisca Skoogh
Pianist, leg. psykolog, adjunkt i piano, doktorand i konstnärlig forskning på Musikhögskolan  

in collaboration with:

Per Johnsson
Docent, leg psykolog, universitetslektor vid institutionen för psykologi
Simon Granér
Universitetslektor vid institutionen för psykologi