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“Facing the music: An investigation of musicians’ physical and mental responses”

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lucian Stephenson.

Webinar! University of Cambridge Coordinator: Dr Pamela Burnard.

Musicians typically rehearse far away from their audiences and in practice rooms that differ significantly from the concert venues in which they aspire to perform. Due to high costs and the inaccessibility of such venues, much current international music training lacks repeated exposure to realistic performance situations, with students learning all too late (or not at all) how to manage the stresses of performing and the demands of their audiences. This presentation will explore the physiological and psychological differences between practising and performing. It will also introduce the ‘Performance Simulator’, an innovative new facility which operates in two modes: (i) concert and (ii) audition simulation. Initial results demonstrate that the Simulator allows musicians to develop and refine valuable professional skills, including enhancement of communication on stage and effective management of performance anxiety.

Aaron Williamon is Professor of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music. His research focuses on music cognition, skilled performance, and applied psychological and health-related initiatives that inform music learning and teaching. His book, Musical Excellence, is published by Oxford University Press and draws together the findings of initiatives from across the arts and sciences, with the aim of offering musicians new perspectives and practical guidance for enhancing their performance. Aaron is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and the UK’s Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and, in 2008, was elected an Honorary Member of the RCM (HonRCM). In addition, he has performed as a trumpeter in chamber and symphony orchestras, brass bands, and brass quintets in both Europe and North America.

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This talk is part of the Arts, Culture and Education series.

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