Why Gender Matters in Music Performance Anxiety

As a private piano teacher, I’ve observed over the years that my female students seem to complain more of (or be affected more by) performance anxiety than my male students do. These observations lingered and built up over the years, and then I read a fantastic book titled Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need To Know About The Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Dr. Leonard Sax. Chapter 3 explains how women tend to avoid risk while men tend to seek it out (e.g. boys are jumping their bikes off cliffs while girls are hesitant to get on their bikes). Immediately I wondered if perhaps boys are more hard-wired for performance since all performance involves risk. “Boys go for it,” I thought.

Continue reading