Much has been written lately about classical musicians who use drugs like beta blockers to deal with stage fright. Some observers have criticized these musicians for resorting to drugs, but they may not fully understand how performance nerves can affect musicians and alter the outcome of a performance. Horn player Louise Burton offers her experience as a case in point.
Musicians experiencing performance jitters is nothing new. Some musicians feel that a little performance anxiety actually makes for a more exciting performance. But those who experience debilitating forms of anxiety often turn to medications like beta blockers to calm their nerves, as public radio station WQXR reported recently.