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: