Doctoral of Musical Arts (DMA)

University of Miami, Coral Gables, US

Mindfulness Meditation: a New Tool for Understanding and Regulating Musical Performance Anxiety (MPA) - an Affective Neuroscientific Perspective

Chairman: Mr. Ross Harbaugh - approved May 2004.


      The dissertation had music performance and music education as backgrounds, as it referred to an affective neuroscientific research on how the body physically and emotionally reacts in face of an audition or performance. It brought attention to a neuroimage technology, that started to be used in 2000, which revealed for the first time the parts of the brain that are activated by positive and negative emotions. Based on that, Dr. De Felice researched therapies that scientifically proved that the individual himself, without the use of medication, was able to regulate his/her emotions by consciously learning how to switch from negative to positive emotions, activating in this way, a different area of the brain.


    Dr. De Felice was primarily focusing on the treatment of Abnormal Music Performance Anxiety (AMPA). The use of Mindfulness Meditation (MM), as studied by Richard Davidson, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and colleagues had proved to treat and cure anxiety-related illness as serious as cancer. From that perspective, Dr. De Felice proposed that Mindfulness Meditation would also be used to treat AMPA.


       It is important to mention that Dr. De Felice was the first one to propose this therapy not only for the treatment of music performance anxiety, but also anxiety in other performance activities, including drama, dance, and sports. For being such a pioneering work, Dr. De Felice received the Phi Kappa Lambda award granted by the U.S. National Music Honor Society. Nowadays, Mindfulness Meditation is simply referred as Mindfulness, and it is a common subject in musical academic settings. Each year, colleges and universities have been increasingly incorporating Mindfulness and related therapies on their performance core curriculum not only in music departments, but also in art departments, and in the training of athletes. Numerous books and dissertations have been published on the subject, citing and having Dr. De Felice's doctoral dissertation as a major reference. 



Master of Musical Arts (MMA)

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Critical Edition of the Violin Concerto in d minor, opus 29 by Henrique Oswald - a Revision of the Author's Manuscript

Chairman: Mr. Jose Alves  - approved November 1997.


        Dr. De Felice searched archives in different cities in Brazil and she was able to find all 135 original score manuscript sheets of the single Violin Concerto written by Henrique Oswald (1852-1931), one of the biggest Brazilian composers after Heitor Villa-Lobos. Dr. De Felice's dissertation was the revision of those manuscripts and the presentation of a critical edition of the score using Cakewalk software. The work was the first edition ever done of this music by Henrique Oswald.


         Note: in Brazil, the MMA in violin performance was the highest degree in violin performance at that time. It was comparable to the DMA in the U.S., as it lasted 4 to 5 years, and it required a Dissertation for its conclusion.