Music Could Cure Your Performance Jitters

November 28, 2001

Most of us have performance rituals that calm our nerves. (Mine includes lucky socks.) If you don’t already do so, you might want to consider adding a playlist to your pre-show routine. A study published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences found that listening to music can actually change the chemistry in your brain, lowering the levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—that your body produces. In one experiment, participants listened to music before undergoing surgery. The result proved to be more effective than taking prescription anxiety medication. That’s music to my ears!