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Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?

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Ebbie 21 Aug 05 - 05:35 PM
Mary in Kentucky 21 Aug 05 - 05:43 PM
Peace 21 Aug 05 - 05:43 PM
Janie 21 Aug 05 - 06:00 PM
Ebbie 21 Aug 05 - 06:46 PM
Beer 21 Aug 05 - 07:01 PM
Janie 21 Aug 05 - 07:23 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Aug 05 - 09:27 PM
Ebbie 21 Aug 05 - 10:00 PM
Peace 21 Aug 05 - 10:01 PM
Peace 21 Aug 05 - 10:04 PM
Ebbie 21 Aug 05 - 10:11 PM
Janie 21 Aug 05 - 10:31 PM
number 6 21 Aug 05 - 11:16 PM
Peace 21 Aug 05 - 11:44 PM
Peace 21 Aug 05 - 11:47 PM
number 6 21 Aug 05 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Quigs 22 Aug 05 - 01:30 AM
Ebbie 22 Aug 05 - 01:43 AM
GUEST, Hamish 22 Aug 05 - 05:22 AM
PoppaGator 22 Aug 05 - 01:46 PM
Ferrara 22 Aug 05 - 02:30 PM
Janie 22 Aug 05 - 02:45 PM
Janie 22 Aug 05 - 03:05 PM
number 6 22 Aug 05 - 03:57 PM
Seamus Kennedy 22 Aug 05 - 04:43 PM
Janie 22 Aug 05 - 04:53 PM
Janie 22 Aug 05 - 05:08 PM
Janie 22 Aug 05 - 05:22 PM
Don Firth 22 Aug 05 - 05:25 PM
Linda Kelly 22 Aug 05 - 05:31 PM
Janie 22 Aug 05 - 06:18 PM
Peace 22 Aug 05 - 06:53 PM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 10:57 AM
Ebbie 23 Aug 05 - 11:48 AM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 11:53 AM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 12:01 PM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 12:14 PM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 04:04 PM
Ebbie 23 Aug 05 - 06:19 PM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 11:13 PM
Janie 23 Aug 05 - 11:29 PM
Mudlark 24 Aug 05 - 12:32 AM
Cluin 24 Aug 05 - 01:15 AM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Aug 05 - 08:52 PM
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Subject: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 05:35 PM

I reread a Stagefright thread - lots of good stuff on it - and wanted to refresh it but it says that it is closed. So here comes another one.

I'm not a polished guitarist but I enjoy backing up singers and flatpickers, onstage and off. My ego- my personal identity - is not involved. If I make a mistake or if I don't find all the chords in a new song, I acknowledge it and incorporate the information into the next time the tune comes up. My attitude toward playing backup is healthy, I think.

The same is NOT true of singing. I love music, I love to sing, but it is almost impossible for me to sing in front of others.

This is no longer true for me in my Friday Night music jam- I sing often and wholeheartedly- but only if I have my singing partner with me. When she was out of town a few months ago, I didn't sing a note by myself. This is true even when my SP comes in only on the chorus. Somehow it seems iessential for me to know that she is there.

She will not be at the Getaway. That means that again I won't be able to lead a song.

What to do? What to do?


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 05:43 PM

I found the same to be true about accompanying another musician. When I was a teenager, I accompanied an outstanding oboe player from a large city philharmonic orchestra. (just in a practice session, but he gave me nice compliments) I found that "supporting" such a gifted musician really brought out my playing (piano) and I completely forgot about stage fright.

My theory on stage fright - and many here will violently disagree with me - is that it is basically a selfish phenomena. I'm guilty, yes, but when I'm paralyzed with stage fright, I'm thinking more about myself than others.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 05:43 PM

I'll never get to a Getaway, Ebbie, but someday you and I will sing a song together. You'll do the lead and I'll back you. I worked the stage since I was about 13 years old. Stopped 18 years later--for the most part. I never did get over stagefright. I think it's fairly common amongst performers--at least those willing to say they have it. Some days it's worse than others. It is especially strong when I am doing a song for the first time (one of my own). Always wanna puke.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 06:00 PM

Ebbie--I don't think you are alone in this. I do not *Perform* well at all. My anxiety and fear of negative evaluation by others (fear I won't be good enough) really effect both my voice and my presentation. Alone, or in situations where I am very comfortable, my voice can soar and be really expressive.

One of the things that lead me to fall in love with The Getaway was to see that it was nearly completely about participation and sharing of our love of music and song--and not about impressing anyone with our performance. I think that is why I particularly like the late night sing around in what used to be the "Mudcat" cabin. I missed it terribly the year it didn't much happen. I think there are few places in the world where it is safer to raise your voice in song than at the Getaway. I see and hear many of us there listened to with respect and encouragement, valued because of our shared love of singing and music, regardless of talent, skill or showmanship.

I find I CAN sing at the Getaway, (even though I do tend to still clutch up some in the workshops)and it has empowered me to be more willing to sing in other settings. (Hopefully not to the regret of some:^) I may not be confident of my voice--but I am confident of my love of the singing, and that seems to be what is most valued there.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 06:46 PM

Ah, but see, Janie- your attitude and approach is a healthy one. If I could see that, I wouldn't be complaining.

Bruce, first of all: Why not make it to the Getaway?? As I've said before I would love to meet you and hear you and shudder sing with you. I can just about guarantee that I wouldn't sing for you, but if I could, I'd be honored to have you back me up. Bless you, chile.

I agree, Mary, that it is about ego, it is about Self. However, that is something we all have. Dealing with it is the issue.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Beer
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 07:01 PM

Never got over it. Always try and do a song that I know really well first. Get the butterflies going in the same direction. Usually after the second song I'm on my way. Half an hour before a show I'm in and out of the bathroom. But now that I'm nearing 60 it could be something else.
Beer.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 07:23 PM

Ebbie--When you get there--just pay attention to how others around you are listening and attending to whoever is singing. Pay attention also to how you listen to others. Hear someone singing whose voice may waver or go off key? Or who sings just fine--but clearly not professional, or whose voice is better than their musicianship, or some who really can't carry a tune? Some one obviously so nervous it was effecting them? Sure you do. And if you think back, I bet you can remember listening and admiring them (us)for singing anyway, and valuing their contribution. Will notice the "Pro's" doing the same.

That's what I noticed. And then realized that I was not so terminally unique that the same wouldn't apply to me. That's how I got to where I COULD see it. As I noted earlier--it doesn't mean I don't clutch up some, but I am able to participate.

I don't think stagefright is about selfishness, but is about a wounded sense of the self. I think it derives from a combination of the narcissism (which we all have and need in some measure) and the deep sense of shame about not being "good enough" that most human beings seem to harbor somewhere within themselves.

Oops. About to go off on one of my boring rambles.

Now see? I just realized that remark comes from my "stagefright" on the forum. And my stagefright on the forum is what leads to the long, way too wordy posts. I have a terrible fear of not making myself clear, or of not coming across in a way that conveys my own intelligence, integrity, and intuitive thinking. NOT a problem for me as a therapist--I'm confident and the attention is on the otherperson, not me--there is no conscious element of performance to it. Not so here though--and it effects my writing just as much as anxiety effects my singing.

Lets get together and sing some at the Getaway, Ebbie.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 09:27 PM

Always make sure all buttons and zippers are done up, then you wont have exposure problems.

I suffer from stagefright in inverse proportion to the size of the audience: the bigger the audience, the less stagefright and the bigger the buzz; the smaller the audience, the more intimidated I get. The critical mass seems be be approaching about 100 people, but it's more of a visual thing, rather any any actual count. the distance away from the audience seems to be involved too - not too close, and not too faraway. I also was brought up as an ensemble player rather than a soloist - so when doing a solo, the bigger the audience the better.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:00 PM

Incidentally, the "shudder" singing I want to engage in with Peace is a new kind of approach to creativity. Far be it from me to not set the html corrctly. *G*


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:01 PM

So does that mean we close the shudders and sing?


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:04 PM

Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooool.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:11 PM

hahahha


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:31 PM

Oh. And here I thought shudder singing was something you did in Alaska in the wintertime;>)

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: number 6
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 11:16 PM

Stagefright is something I suffer greatly from, it's more of a mania. There is nothing I fear more than being up front in front of an audience. It doesn't matter if there is 1 person (that I know) in the audience or 100. I have suffered all my life and guess I always will. In an informal, impromptu situation I have no problem at all.

Janie ... "I have a terrible fear of not making myself clear, or of not coming across in a way that conveys my own intelligence, integrity, and intuitive thinking." ... now this is something I should be more concientious of ... It's the opposite for me, I can ramble on in a post and not come across at all in the manner I intended, or it's such a short blurb that has no meaning whatsoever. I'm absolutely embarrased after reading some of my posts.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 11:44 PM

Ten Most Common Human Fears


Public Speaking

Heights

Insects

Financial Problems

Sickness

Deep Water

Death

Flying

Driving

Elevators


The above is from one site. I have seen lists that support the general contentions--although the order changes from time to time.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 11:47 PM

Here's another list. Many of the same appear.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: number 6
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 11:50 PM

I know some people that have a fear of being healthy and happy.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: GUEST,Quigs
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 01:30 AM

I played a festival recently and found something interesting. While I do experience some nervousness prior to going on (particularly manifesting itself in repetitive urination within 30 minutes of going on), I really don't find audiences that scary for the most part. However, being relatively new to the festival experience as a musician, I found the workshops quite stressful. I found I was incredibly concerned with how well I would go over with the other musicians. I mean, when I think about it on a purely rational level it seems quite stupid; why should I care? But, damn it, I do seem to want other musicians approval I suppose. I guess maybe it means I need to play in that setting more and just get used to it. Sure was interesting though. q


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 01:43 AM

I'm embarrassed to admit my main fear- I cannot bear the thought that people might go away feeling or saying, Oh, I felt so sorry for her, didn't you. And another saying something like, But why does she keep trying? It's so embarrassing...

Yikes.

Another fear is that not only might I faint, but that I might vomit. On stage. When I have gotten through it, I don't feel better because I'm aware that the next time might be the time...

Don't mind me. I just realized how sick I sound!


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: GUEST, Hamish
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 05:22 AM

I'm not too bad in folk clubs. But I recently did a reading at a funeral: 200 people in church. Good pa. Did loads of rehearsals, both before the day and in the church. Knew my way around the technology...

...and yet I was so nervous as my turn came around. The only way I could start to suppress it was to tell myself that I've spoken in front of that size audience before, and I can do it...

...and, of course, it was fine. In fact one person said afterwards that they could have listened to me reading "all day", which made me just as satisfied (under the circumstances: it was a funeral, after all) as with any of my singing gigs.

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 01:46 PM

I haven't suffered from "stage fright" for many years, but I remember what it was like. As a college student, I was a "closet" musician (more precisely, a dorm-rooom picker and singer) while many of my friends were performing at open mikes, coffeehouses, etc. I was eventually persuaded to make a few appearances as an accompanyist, then gradually began to emerge from the background by taking the "spotlight" for one or two numbers while backing up a friend on his set.

Once I was out of school, a couple of years of busking on the street cured me of that stagefright for good; I was able to develop a "take it or leave it" attitude, which is undoubtedly a much easier mindset to develop on the streetcorner than on an actual stage.

Now I'm dealing with a new problem, having recently joined up with a shanty-singing group. I have no problem at all joining in on choruses, even daring to try to improvise harmonies; even when these attempts go somewhat awry, I manage not to get too upset. I'm ablt back off, find my way back to the basic melody, and keep singing ~ just as though nothing too embarrasssing had occurred.

However, I find myself very reluctant, even frightened, of leading off an unaccompanied song. I'm so accustomed to playing a little intro, or at least hitting a chord on the guitar, to establish the key in which to sing, and I'm really lost when I have to pluck a note out of thin air upon which to start a song. I've make mistakes and gotten started in keys in which it's very difficult to sing (both for myself and for the group), and I find myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable about "leading" my share of songs when I feel as though I should be getting better at it, not worse...


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ferrara
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 02:30 PM

Ebbie, I have a suggestion for the Getaway: I am absolutely sure you can come up with some new singing partners for the weekend if that's what it takes to give you confidence! Before you go, run through a bunch of your favorite songs on your own. If you can, figure out what pitch you start them on or what key you sing them in. Then just ask various people each to practice one of the songs with you, if all you need is support on the choruses it will be particularly easy. I would be really happy to learn a song with you to get things started, if that helps. It would be a durned shame for you not to lead any songs all weekend.

Hamish, Judy Cook shared a technique for starting on the right pitch, while we were at Augusta Vocal Week. She says she practices with a pitch pipe, finds a comfortable starting pitch and gives herself that pitch before she practices the song. When she starts to perform, she finds that she usually picks a starting pitch very close to the one she has been using in practice.

I do something similar (when I remember,... I don't "perform" much so I'm not consistent about it). It works for me, too. After a while you train yourself to pick a key that works pretty well. Sometimes I accompany myself on the zither, and I keep a notebook of keys and starting pitches for the zither, which has only a few keys available.

I have an extra problem with pitch, because my vocal range changes depending on how much transplant medication I happen to be absorbing that week (not a problem most people are going to have....). I tend to start too low because of being afraid of not reaching the high notes. One thing I've learned do is run through a song in my mind before I sing it. I try to find the highest and lowest notes, then mentally "sing" it to be sure I can reach them. If all else fails, I change the pitch on the second verse. Not too cool but it's a common problem for unaccompanied singers so most people understand.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 02:45 PM

Ebbie--Perfect title for this thread. The most effective therapy for anxiety, including performance anxiety is called Exposure Therapy!

J


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 03:05 PM

The process is one of increasing exposure to the feared situation in small increments such that one gradually becomes desensitized to the anxiety.

1. You start REALLY small so that the anxiety never feels overwhelming.
2. Construct an 'anxiety hierarchy' using a scale of 1 to 100. For example, at the bottom of the hierarchy you might rate your anxiety when thinking about singing in public as a 1. Your anxiety thinking of leading a song in a friendly song circle may be a 25. Your anxiety at actually being at a song circle and being asked to lead a song might be 75.
3. Note the thoughts and physical feelings that you exsperience at different levels of your anxiety.
4. Think about leading a song in your song circle. What symptoms arise? Just a little discomfort and longing? Desire to avoid thinking about it? Heart rate pick up a bit? What ever those mildest symptoms are, notice and monitor them without negative judgement. Repeatedly think about the singing and monitor your response until the thought no longer generates anxiety. Then move up a half step on your hierarchy and repeat.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: number 6
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 03:57 PM

Easier said than done Janie. For me anyway. The more I put thought to being on stage, the more I think about the anxiety the higher the 'anxiety meter' rises ... the easist way, and to me there is no easy way is to completely oblivious to what you are about to do .... and this is done 24 hours before ... don't even think about it ... just go up and play.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 04:43 PM

I can get up in front of 4,000 people at a festival or concert, and not have stage fright because it's my job, and I'm thoroughly rehearsed. This is what I do for a living. When you go into your work are you nervous in front of co-workers or customer/clients? I thought not.
However, if I'm singing in a church for a wedding or funeral, or doing a reading from the altar, I'm a wreck, even if I know the material well.
Nervous doesn't begin to describe it.
I can sing Amazing Grace or the Wedding Song in my sleep, but when I have to do them at a wedding or funeral, I'm crapping my breeks.
Because I don't consider those gigs my job; they are something special for friends or family.
So I just get up and do what I have to do, force the butterflies down, lots of deep breaths, and get through it.
And the audience/congregation never knows....that's the best part.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 04:53 PM

Hi sIx,

    You are starting at the top of your cognitive hierarchy instead of the bottom. I think developing the hierarchy is where a therapist is most helpful in this process. It can take some exploration and coaching to find the bottom step on the hierarchy--that place where a little anxiety is noticed, but not so much that one feels at all overwhelmed by it.

    Stagefright is a phobia. It can vary tremendously in severity--from one person to another or from one proscribed situation to another. There are a number of pretty good books and manuals in print that can help one work on this successfully--with or without a therapist. One that I particularly recommend is "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook." (I'm not at my office right now so can't give you the author.)

    It is also perfectly NORMAL for most of us to experience some anxiety around performing in front of others. It is a problem if it interfers with a person doing what the want to do, or doing it to the best of their ability, or if it causes significant subjective distress and/or disturbing physical symptoms.

    Some people can perform and perform well in spite of the phobic reaction--but the nausea, panic and other symptoms just before the performance are truly distressing. If nausea and vomiting are the most aversive of symptoms, it may be that once you have upchucked--the worst has already happened so you can get on with the show.

    For some of us, myself included, the symptoms are not so dramatic, but they significantly interfer with the quality of our performance, or keep us from performing at all.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 05:08 PM

I should go on to say that the above process is a lot of work--requires commitment of both time and energy. Dealing with performance anxiety is a low priority for me.   But over time, using the above, especially increased awareness of cognitions and the distortions they embody, my performance anxiety is improving. Some of that success is the exposure to singing publicly at the Getaway.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 05:22 PM

Oh Gawd, another post from Janie;<(

Ebbie,

    I am absolutely certain there have been times when people have felt sorry or embarrassed for me. And I won't say that it doesn't bother me at the time--but that is because I AM feeling embarrassed. Unless I feel embarrassed myself, I won't be thinking that others are embarrassed for me (projection.) An hour or a day later I will notice that the incident usually no longer carries much of an emotional charge for me. So I ask myself--if people feel sorry for me, will I die? Will I go crazy? Will I lose my home or child? What is the very worst thing that can happen to me if I embarrass myself, or if others feel embarrassed for me? The worst thing that can happen to me is that I feel embarrassed! Not so bad, eh?

    Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 05:25 PM

This can be a serious problem for people who want to perform, so if you don't mind, I'll blither on at some length about what I've learned during my somewhat checkered career about nervousness and stage fright.

I can't say that I suffer from stage fright as a general rule. The first umpteen times I sang in front of other people were in a fairly "warm bath" situation:   "hoots," or songfests in private homes, and the response to my first fumblings was appreciation of my efforts, and encouragement. This helped a lot.

I'd been singing and playing the guitar for about three years and I'd developed a repertoire of some sixty or seventy songs when I first sang for a group larger than the capacity contents of someone's living room. I sang at a hospital, and I thought the group would be maybe a couple of dozen people. It turned out to be closer to 250, including patients, doctors, and various hospital personnel. This was a bit of a shock. When I sang my first song, I was so nervous my hands were shaking, and I fumbled a lot on the guitar, so instead of the sort of classic guitar accompaniment I usually did, I just thumb-strummed. When I got a good round of applause at the end of the song and realized that they weren't going to lynch me, this was exhilarating, so from then on, I was okay.

Nervousness really hit when a friend and I did a television series on folk music on our local educational channel (it's now the local PBS affiliate). This was in 1959, the days before videotape was widely in use, so the shows were live! Like GUEST,Quigs, before the show started, I found I had to make about six trips to the restroom down the hall from the studio. One does not generally need to drain one's bladder six times within half an hour. Sheer nerves! Fortunately the first show went exactly as planned, because I was mentally non-functional and operating on automatic.

Afterwards, I mentioned my petrified state to Sally, the producer. She assured me that it wasn't noticeable, and then she gave me a few tips. She reminded me that, although what I probably had in mind was that I was singing to thousands of people (an idea that can freeze a lot of people, as it nearly did me), I was actually singing to only one or two people at a time—whoever happened to be watching the show on any given TV set. "You aren't nervous singing in someone's living room, are you?" she asked. No. "Well," she said, "that's actually what you are doing. That's the way the television audience perceives you. Forget the 'thousands of people.' You're singing to just a couple of people in their living room."

Great advice! By the third show in the series, I felt like an old pro. I was aware of everything from the floor director's signals, to the big clock under the monitor telling me how far into the show we were and whether I should add or drop a few verses from the "rubber song" we had intentionally programmed late in the show for that purpose, and which of the three cameras was live, and the kind of shot Sally was trying to get—the works!

After the series was over, and because of the series, I was in demand (so I couldn't have been too gawdawful, I guess), and among other things, I took a regular three night a week engagement at "The Place Next Door," a sort of up-scale coffee house (more like a non-alcoholic night club). There is nothing like singing regularly like this to got over—or get through—stage fright. This was followed by more TV, concerts, other stuff.

I addition to what Sally, the KCTS-TV producer told me, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from Dr. Stanley Chappelle, the dean of the University of Washington's School of Music. I'd started singing and playing when I was about twenty-two. I decided that I wanted to sing for a living if I could actually manage it, but my musical knowledge was next to zilch. I was sort of like someone who wanted to be a writer but knew little about spelling and grammar. So I decided to enroll in the U. of W. School of Music, but since my interest was folk music and my instrument was the guitar (at the time, not regarded as a "legitimate" musical instrument by some of the stuffier institutions), I had to audition for Dr. Chappelle. I was intensely nervous when I first started to play a classic guitar solo for him (shaking hands again). He stopped me, and we chatted a bit. He told me that the main reason that people get stage fright is that they are thinking more about what the audience thinks of them than they are about the music they're playing. I digested that, then tried again. I passed the audition.

What I have found out about myself is that when I start wondering what the audience is thinking of me, I get distracted and that's when I screw up. My favorite trick is forgetting the next line and having to sit there staring at the ceiling, hoping some sympathetic muse will quickly write the words up there. It precipitates the very thing I most want to avoid. Counterproductive.

I have to remember that it's not all about me. I'm merely the vehicle for the song.

And here's a major one:   be prepared. Know your material. My younger sister, Pat, who was a world-class figure skater during the Fifties, once told me, "Try to be about thirty percent better than what you think you need to be, because something will always go wrong." Yeah, that's about right. Nothing ever goes quite the way you wish it would (you break a fingernail or your guitar, banjo, harp, whatever refuses to stay in tune, something), so you have to just drill your way through.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 05:31 PM

I sympathise Ebbie, I don't like singing without Pistachio who is my singing partner -not so much fear of not performing but I can remember words better if someone is there-a pyschological prompt as it were. I have a memory problem and can forget a song from one week to the next-even my own songs are a complete mystery to me sometimes. I am problably one of the most irritatingly confident people I know and I still can't pin down the reason I do not like singing on my own.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 06:18 PM

Escellent, Don! Great description of how the change in cognitions lead to change in emotion (anxiety) and behavior.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 06:53 PM

Dear Ebbie,

Years back I formed a duet with a gal named Susan. We practised for a few gigs--did maybe five or six songs together. She was absolutely petrified to get on stage. She did anyway. She BLEW the audiences away. We arranged a few songs (one I recall had the lines, "When time is stolen it flies, it flies; lovers leave in disguise, disguise . . . ."

Once she started singing, she was awesome. I knew she was nervous because she stared at the mike for all five songs, and I think the audience knew, too. BUT, they loved her anyway. (I think we got a few encores, and we had to repeat a song because we only knew a half dozen together. Lost track of her. She had gone to England. Hope she's still doing some singing where she is. Haven't heard from her for about 35 years.)

I sent you a PM.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 10:57 AM

I told Ebbie I'd stay off this thread to keep from killing it (my special talent!)--but have had a couple of pm's about the subject so will drone on in bits and spirts since it seems to be good info. for some to have.

The author of "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" is Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Other good authors to look for in the USA are Reid Wilson, David Burns and Judith Beck.

When the symptoms of anxiety begin DON'T FIGHT THEM and DON'T RUN FROM THEM. They are caused by a sudden surge of adrenalin (the fight or flight response, gone awry.) Fighting or tensing against it makes it worse. Attempting to suppress or run from it is a way of telling yourself you can't handle performing, and will usually also increase the panic. People often end up fearing the anxiety symptoms themselves (we have nothing to fear but fear itself, eh?) Learn to turn down the volume on anticipatory anxiety. Learn to decatastrophize your thoughts about performance.

Examine your beliefs and automatic thoughts-your self-talk. Those that lead to or feed the anxiety are not productive. You can unlearn them and replace them with productive beliefs and thoughts.

Use what I call the Cognitive Equation.

event------------------>thoughts------------->Feelings and Reactions
(Internal or            (interpretation/       (can be circular-these
external)                self-talk)             become events)

Learn to identify the cognitive distortions in your self-talk.

Learn to apply Socratic reasoning to your self-talk.

More about self-talk and Socratic reasoning later.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 11:48 AM

Is going into meditation 'running' from it? At last month's folk club debut, Buddy Tabor asked me and my SP to sing a Hank Williams song with him backing us up. I finally said, OK, I'll do it.

His was the last set and "our" song was going to be the last song. As his set wore on I went into a freak out mode: my heart pounded in my throat right next to my stomach, my bones became like water- in fact I had to leave the hall and go to the toilet twice...

Then I took stock and realized that I was making far too big a deal of it and sent myself into meditation.

The image that came up was of my brother who died in 1999. He was a good musician and he loved performing. As he headed for the stage, guitar in hand and a look of anticipation on his face, I knew that if he could anticipate it like that, there was no reason that I could not do it.

And I did.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 11:53 AM

Meditation is DEALING with it--perfect!

(And it worked;')

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 12:01 PM

Ebbie,

Notice how you changed your self-talk. How you decatastrophied it.
Meditation is a great tool for listening to ourselves and sorting out distortions and mistaken beliefs.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 12:14 PM

Here are some socratic questions that can be helpful to loosen the power that negative beliefs and self-talk can wield.

1. What is the evidence for this? (ex. I will pass out or puke on stage.)

2. Is it always true?

3. Has it been true in the past?

4. What are the odds of this reall happening (or being true)?

5. What is the very worst thing that could happen? What would be so bad about that? What would I do if the worst happened? Could I live with that?

6. Am I looking at the whole picture?

7. Am I being fully objective?

Be especially alert to self talk that begins with "What if...?)

If all you notice thinking is something like "Oh no!" Realize you have developed 'shorthand' automatic thinking. "Oh no!" stands for, "Oh no, my heart is racing, what if I faint, what if I forget the words, what if I don't hit that high note....etc.etc.etc."

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 04:04 PM

Over time--often a very short time--the anxiety becomes a conditioned response to the thought of performing. What you want to do is de-condition that response and replace it with another. Extinquish one habit and replace it with another. This particular habit (performance anxiety) involves cognitions, physiological reactions and behaviors.

These cognitive-behavioral principles and techniques are fairly straight forward to describe. I want to reiterate, however, that putting them into practice in your own situation, while VERY do-able, is not easy or effortless. And it takes practice, practice, practice.
Sometimes a coach or therapist is needed to help begin the process.

Having said that, there is overwhelming imperical evidence in study after study of the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral interventions in reducing or eliminating phobias and other anxiety disorders. In other words--it works.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 06:19 PM

"What you want to do is de-condition that response and replace it with another. Extinquish one habit and replace it with another..." Janie

Made me smile, Janie- on occasion I train dogs, especially to break a bad habit or two of theirs- and that's exactly what I do: Put something else in its place, i.e. if the dog is in the habit of going ape when it sees another dog, I give it a command like 'Sit' or 'lie' just to break the habitual action and give it something different to think about.

Or like when I had greyhounds that killed cats- there's no humane way to break a dog off the race track of chasing a fluffy li'l ole thang but you can teach it to COME when it first espies said critter.

Just maybe I can utilize that same strategy on myself...


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 11:13 PM

Ebbie if you can train dogs you can train yourself! The principle is pretty much the same. Don't forget that those habits of thinking have got to be changed too;>)

Janie


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 11:29 PM

uh.........impirical...........empirical...........emperical?

Brain fart.

J.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Mudlark
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 12:32 AM

All helpful advice. And, from that other thread, the one piece of very practical advice I liked was to wear glasses w/powerful reading lenses (dimestore kind are perfect) so everything is a blur farther than 5 ft away. Surprisingly, out of sight really is kind of out of mind. Dark glasses wrk pretty well, too.

One thing that helped me was singing in a convalescent hospital. Nearly all the patients had some sort of dementia or another, some dozed thru my songs, some would shout out occasionally, others would sing along, only a completely different song. With an audience like that, it was obvious that they could care less if I forgot words, or blurred a guitar chord. I did it every other week for nearly 2 years and it really helped a lot.

The other thing that helped a lot was getting together with other folksingers on a one to one basis and trading songs back and forth. In a situation like that your "turn" comes around pretty fast, and you get a lot of practice...and you get to hear the other person forget words occasionally, or lose a chord...and you realize it doesn't mar your enjoyment of their playing at all.

Please do it, tho, Ebbie. Don't pass up a chance to lead a song or six at the Gateway. You will regret it all year. Some discomfort is worth putting up with to avoid a lot of regret! You will be good, sound good, even if you get off to a shaky start, because you care and love what you sing. Wish I could be there to hear you.


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: Cluin
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 01:15 AM

It is far far easier to sing into a mic on a stage for a group of strangers (like Seamus said, it's my job) than for one person or a few people close up and intimate. But I can do that too, no problem.

No, I don't get stage fright. I may get anxious to get out there and work, but I feel no hesitation. I know I can do the job and I do it.

"Ought not to daunt you. Never be daunted. Secret of my success. Never been daunted. Never been daunted in public."
      ~ Bill Gorton in The Sun Also Rises


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Subject: RE: Stagefright -Fear of Exposure?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 08:52 PM

Mudlark...

You want us all to play in mental asylums? Some of us feel we are living in one already...


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