Simultaneous EEG and EMG biofeedback for peak performance in musicians

Prilozi. 2008 Jul;29(1):239-52.


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of alpha neurofeedback and EMG biofeedback protocols for improvement of musical performance in violinists. The sample consisted of 12 music students (10 violinists and 2 viola players) from the Faculty of Music, Skopje (3 males, mean age of 20 +/- 0 and 9 females, mean age = 20.89 +/- 2.98). Six of them had a low alpha peak frequency (APF) (< 10 Hz), and six a high APF (> 10 Hz). The sample was randomized in two groups. The students from the experimental group participated in 20 sessions of biofeedback (alpha/EMG), combined with music practice, while the students from the control group did only music practice. Average absolute power, interhemispheric coherence in the alpha band, alpha peak frequency (APF), individual alpha band width (IABW), amount of alpha suppression (AAS) and surface forehead integrated EMG power (IEMG), as well as a score on musical performance and inventories measuring anxiety, were assessed. Alpha-EEG/EMG-biofeedback was associated with a significant increase in average alpha power, APF and IABW in all the participants and with decreases in IEMG only in high-APF musicians. The biofeedback training success was positively correlated with the alpha power, IcoH, APF, IABW and baseline level of APF and IABW. Alpha-EEG/EMG biofeedback is capable of increasing voluntary self-regulation and the quality of musical performance. The efficiency of biofeedback training depends on the baseline EEG alpha activity status, in particular the APF.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm*
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Electromyography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Young Adult