Recommended Books

Helen’s Granddaughter performing confidently

Performance Anxiety: A Workbook for Actors, Singers, Dancers, and Anyone Who Performs in Public by Eric Maisel (Back Stage Books, 2005)

The best, most complete all-around book on performance anxiety that I’ve seen. Excellent, comprehensive information about all aspects of stage fright including many thoughtful exercises and further resources. Unfortunately, it is out of print. You might try to get a copy through interlibrary loan.


The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness by Gerald Klickstein; Oxford University Press, 2009

A highly excellent book, one third of which is dedicated to fearless performance.  Written in a conversational style, the organization, detail and scope of this publication is highly intelligent, written by someone who has “been around the block.”  In addition to the superb material on stagefright, which is not covered in quite this way in other books, topics include injury prevention, preparing for performance and stage deportment, musical collaboration, and more.  The companion blog is also recommended:


Performing in the Zone: Unleash Your True Performing Potential! by Jon Gorrie;, 2009.

This volume is filled with a myriad of basic and innovative techniques to conquer performance anxiety, presented clearly and thoughtfully.  The Performance Arousal Diagram is one of the most valuable offerings.   The discussion on visualization lacks information on the relaxation component, and I caution readers to understand that some people take much shorter, and others much longer, to gain confidence in performance than the twelve weeks he suggests.  Nevertheless, a highly recommended book for techniques.


Performance Strategies for Musicians by David Buswell. MX Publishing, 2006.

An excellent book which contains some wonderfully useful strategies and exercises.


Performance Power: Transforming Stress into Creative Energy by Irmtraud Tarr Kruger is an excellent book that takes a more psychological view of perforrmance anxiety than most books. Although Dr. Kruger tackles the subject in depth from her point of view, the text is readable and understandable, even without a psychology background. The translation from the German is excellent. The address of the English edition publisher is:


Summit Books

PO Box 26850

Tempe, AZ 85285-6850


If you have trouble finding it, remember you can always try interlibrary loan from your public library.

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