Surfing for Stage Fright:Articles 4 You

I love Google.

Google sends me email. Wonderful little snippets on topics in the news or on blogs that pertain to my interests, like public speaking tips, self-confidence, self-expression, etc. It’s very cool.

Here are a few articles I discovered, thanks to Rhona-May Arca, a piano and music teacher in Canada who has a blog called Musings at Musespeak.

Stage Fright — by Drew McManus

Should musicians (or speakers, for that matter) use performance enhancing drugs? Does it put them at an advantage if they do? This article talks about the use of beta-blockers and such.

This topic comes up a lot when I’m working with musicians. To take drugs or to not take drugs, IS that the question?

I personally don’t have strong feelings about it either way. If taking beta-blockers helps you enjoy performing and doesn’t get in your way, then by all means. Take them. But I’d try them first when you’re not in a performance situation so you can evaluate the effect they do have.

Stressed for Success – David Templeton

This is a great article that focuses on the work and philosophy of Dr. Don Greene, a sports and performance psychologist who has written many books on performing under pressure, like Fight Your Fear and Win: 7 Skills for Performing Your Best Under PressurePerformance Success: Performing Your Best Under Pressure and Audition Success: An Olympic Sports Psychologist Teaches Performing Artists How to Win.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from this article:

"If you can do a piece in a practice room—efficiently and well—then you have the technical abilities to do it," says Greene. "But then if you go on stage and are not able to execute the piece, it’s not a technical issue. It’s a mental issue, an issue of how you deal with stress. A lot of people then will go back to the practice room to work on a problem that wasn’t there, namely their technique, when the problem wasn’t their technique—it was their response to stress…

"…The mistake I see is that they never switch over from practicing practice," he continues, "to practicing performance. And then they go out on stage—where the environment is very different—expecting to do something they’ve never adequately practiced. All that time they’ve been practicing doing something they’re not going to do. They’re not going to go out there and rehearse, stopping and starting and correcting. At some point, a musician should start practicing performance—making an entrance, playing the piece straight through regardless of what happens, and then getting up to make the exit."

First Performance Jitters — by Rex and Carolyn Sikes

I loved this article, even if it was hard to read on that dark background.

This is about getting your mind on your side, asking the right questions, the ones that will focus your mind on what you want rather then worrying about what you don’t want. Here’s a bit of the article:

"What I additionally do is ask myself positive productive questions which lead my mind in the direction I want it to go in. For example, I ask myself questions like ‘Just how surprised and delighted I will be to discover myself having a marvelous time? In how many different ways can I discover myself delighted and excited at having the opportunity to perform? How much fun can I stand and in how many ways will I find myself enthused?…

In other words I want to get my brain to work for me. I want to say things like ‘I wonder how quickly I will realize how excited I am’ (rather than I’m nervous). Notice also I am not make affirmations – in other words I am not claiming something to be the case when it is not – I am posing questions in a particular fashion, which direct the mind and don’t set up conflicts with what you know to be true."

Okay, that’s enough reading for now.

Thanks again to Rhona-May. I enjoyed discovering your blog.

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