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Jo Hensel

Invited Paper: The impact of Rational Emotive Behaviour Coaching on the Psychological Wellbeing and Performance Anxiety of Conservatoire Music Students: a randomised control trial

Jo Hensel

This study is part of a larger research project that aims to develop a coaching intervention to equip conservatoire music students with psychological skills that enable them to deal more adaptively with the challenges they face as performing musicians. The first study in the project found that irrational beliefs and unhealthy negative emotions were prevalent amongst these students. This finding led to the design of the current study, which aims to examine the impact of a Rational Emotive Behaviour Coaching (REBC) intervention on the performance anxiety and psychological wellbeing of undergraduate students studying in the wind, brass and percussion department at a leading UK conservatoire.


Jo Hensel biography

As a musician with wide experience in Arts Education, Jo has been coaching professionally since 2013, having been awarded the Institute of Leadership and Management’s Level 7 Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring and subsequently, Senior Practitioner status with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. Prior to this, Jo gained a British Psychological Society accredited BSc (Hons) degree in psychology.
Combining her passions for music and for working with people to enable them to become the best versions of themselves, Jo has extensive experience of 1:1 and group work in schools, prisons, hospitals, banks and many other community and corporate settings throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

As a horn player, Jo was invited to become a member of the world-renowned chamber orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, in 1998. She continues to perform, tour and record with the orchestra and plays an active role in its outreach and education programme.

As a founder member of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Coaching Faculty, Jo trains coaches, and works with both internal and external clients to enable them to build resilience and to close the gap between where they are and where they want to be – both emotionally and pragmatically. In her role as a Guildhall Coaching Associate, Jo has recently co-designed a 6 month resilience coaching programme “Responding to the Resilience Risk 2”, which launches in October 2021 – with the aim of increasing the resilience of individuals and teams from twelve London-based homelessness charities. Within Guildhall, she is currently investigating whether a Rational Emotive Behavioural Coaching intervention can reduce performance anxiety and enhance the wellbeing of music students. Jo is carrying out this research in Guildhall’s Wind, Brass and Percussion Department – of which she was Deputy Head for eleven years, before becoming Guildhall’s first “Performance Confidence Associate” in September 2021.


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