Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Voluntary modification of musical performance by neurofeedback training


Neurofeedback displayed significant improvements in the overall quality of the musical performance. Few investigations showed that predictors of good psychomotor performance are low integrated EMG of muscle non-participating in execution and an increased EEG alpha activity (Bazanova et el, 2003; Pantev et al, 1998; Petsche & Etlinger, 1998).

The main objectives of the present investigation was to study the impact of simultaneous individual alpha-EEG stimulating and EMG decreasing biofeedback (Alpha-EEG/EMG BFB) on electrophysiological indices in musicians by comparing responses of musicians to usual practice and practice combined with biofeedback training.

Materials and methods

The aim of the neurofeedback training of 51 musical students was “to attain a state at which achieving high quality musical performance would be complimented with a feeling of easiness and comfort”. Firstly, they had their usual practice (30 minutes), followed by rest and another 30-minutes lasting practice combined with Alpha-EEG/EMG BFB. Efficiency of Alpha EEG/EMG BFB session was calculated as the ratio between the sum-duration of the successful periods during the Alpha EEG/EMG BFB session and the whole length of the session.


Usual practice caused decrease while practice combined with biofeedback increase in individual alpha-activity indices in the alpha-2 band. In the same time usual practice increased muscle tension, while practice with biofeedback decreased EMG. The score of self-estimated “quality of sound” was higher after practice combined with alpha-EEG/EMG-BFB than after usual practice (p=0.021). Efficiency of the biofeedback depended on the power in alpha-2 band, individual alpha peak frequency, individual alpha band width and individual amount of alpha suppression in response to open eyes.


Enhanced somatosensory and auditory feedback during performance on the instrument facilitates the online modification of musical execution skill


  1. Bazanova O.M, Gvozdev A.V, Mursin FA., Tarasov E.A, Shtark M.B: Dimensionality and exceptional functioning of the musical creativity and performance. Proceedings of the 3rd Conference “Understanding and creating music” Dipartimento di Matematica Seconda Universitΰ degli Studi di Napoli.

  2. Bazanova O.M, Aftanas L.I: Analysis individual EEG alpha activity peculiarities for enhancement Neurofeedback efficiency. 2006, []

    Google Scholar 

  3. Pantev C, Oostenveld R, Engelien A, Ross B, Roberts L.E, Hoke M: Increased auditory cortical representations in musicians. Nature. 1998, 392: 811-814. 10.1038/33918.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Petsche H., Etlinger S.C: EEG aspects of musical thinking: listening, imagining and composing. High Ability Studies. 1998, 9: 101-113. 10.1080/1359813980090107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bazanova, O., Mernaya, E. Voluntary modification of musical performance by neurofeedback training. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S100 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: