Is Popping Pills the Surest Way to Beat Performance Nerves?

A recent study of professional orchestral musicians in Australia examined the links between performance-related pain, depression and performance anxiety. The last of these on its own can be crippling for some musicians, and many have turned to beta-blockers to help control their nerves. But few players are open about using beta-blockers. In this article from the August 2010 issue of The Strad, Catherine Nelson talks to musicians and medical experts about the drugs’ risks and benefits, and why their use is still such a sensitive subject:



Why Musicians Need Silence in an Always-Connected World

The Internet has changed the way artists work. Just a few years ago a classical pianist working on a Liszt Sonata, for example, had two options if he wanted to hear it. He could go out and buy a CD or go to a concert. Now he can listen to 20 performances through a quick search on YouTube or Spotify. Surely this must change the way creative people absorb and reproduce culture? Pianist Stephen Hough talks about the challenges for musicians in the age of social media and instant messaging.

Read the Huffington Post article here:



Brain Damage Saved His Music

Five years ago, when neurosurgeon Marcelo Galarza saw images from jazz guitarist Pat Martino’s cerebral MRI, he was astonished. “I couldn’t believe how much of his left temporal lobe had been removed,” he said. Martino had brain surgery in 1980 to remove a tangle of malformed veins and arteries. At the time he was one of the most celebrated guitarists in jazz. Yet few people knew that Martino suffered epileptic seizures, crushing headaches, and depression. Locked in psychiatric wards, he withstood debilitating electroshock therapy. 

Read the complete article here: