Demands of violin playing

Effects of high-stress musical performance on the physical demands of violin playing: a biomechanical analysis

Music performance anxiety (MPA) is a debilitating condition which represents an immense burden within the musical profession and has potentially devastating effects on the health and well-being of musicians. Large-scale international studies of orchestral musicians show that it is the most common medical problem related to playing within this specialised population, with up to 70% of players suffering from MPA severe enough to affect their performance. Such studies have also shown that the most common physiological manifestations of high-stress musical performance experienced by orchestral musicians include tachycardia and palpitations, hand sweating, muscle tension, and trembling or shaking. As instrumental playing is a highly skilled activity requiring great precision and fine motor control, such symptoms can have a profound impact on the ability of musicians to perform optimally and may eventually lead to the development of musculoskeletal injury.

Therefore, the aim of this study is to empirically measure the effects of the physiological responses to high-stress musical performance and MPA on the physical demands of violin performance through a comparative analysis of specific aspects of the musculoskeletal biomechanics of violin playing under the conditions of a high-stress simulated performance and low-stress playing environment.

If you would like more information or would like to take part in this study, please contact Christina Siomos (


Conservatoires UK