Coping with Stage Fright and Nervousness - theHumm July 2019
Coping with Stage Fright and Nervousness - theHumm July 2019
By Tony Stuart
There are incredible benefits that come with being a musician. However, this job has its side effects as well. According to studies, about twenty-five percent of the general population deals with nervousness and stage fright, and I would guess that the percentage for musicians is probably similar.
I had a part-time job as a stage manager while I was in university. I remember one player, an oboist, who would get so nervous that he would be physically sick before a concert; yet would walk out on stage and deliver a stunning performance every single time. He was able to throw a switch when it came time to perform and channel that nervousness into his performance. It was such a dichotomy because he was at the top of his game musically, but suffered bouts of extreme nervousness, yet was able to overcome this at show time.
The mind can play funny tricks on us. Symptoms of stage fright can include an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, diarrhea, chest pains and dizziness, among other things. Every possible disastrous performance scenario seems to run through our heads, with uncomfortable physical side effects.
Unfortunately, many musicians (as well as actors and dancers) resort to chemical means to deal with stage fright. My first clarinet teacher suffered from stage fright, despite being a fabulous player and having a regular gig as a sub with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on bass clarinet. She did what many performers do and took beta blockers to help deal with her stage anxiety. She would not go on stage without taking them. As she described it, the nervous symptoms quickly faded, and calmness followed. This calmness allowed her to be in control of her playing.
Beta blockers were originally developed in the 1960s as a heart medication. They slow the heart rate down, and it didn’t take very long for performers to realize that they could be used to quell stage fright. According to a recent survey, nearly three quarters of musicians have tried them. The problem with beta blockers is that they can become a crutch, and don’t really treat the underlying causes of stage fright. I have never tried them, and don’t plan to, but in my younger days when I got very nervous as a player the thought crossed my mind.
Nervousness is a major issue for performing artists, but we are starting to rediscover old ways of dealing with it. Deep breathing exercises can be very helpful. A simple routine like breathing in for four seconds and out for five seconds has been shown to have many physiological benefits. Meditation is another method that many performers find effective. My second clarinet teacher was a big proponent of visualization techniques. In other words, visualize yourself at the end of a performance facing a standing ovation from the crowd. Now, go and make that happen. Personally, I have found this to be really effective and it is something that I still do both as a musician and teacher.
A little bit of nervousness is a good thing, especially if that can be turned into energy during a performance. Any performer who says they don’t experience it is either lying or simply going through the motions. I’m not sure that I want to be watching a show where the performer isn’t at least a little bit nervous.
By — Paul Joyce
It’s that time of year again, when the rattle of expensive metal is heard coming from car trunks and when spouses disappear for hours at a time, reappearing with sunburns, bug bites, and either smiles, scowls, or looks of quiet resignation.
Yes, it’s golf season.
For the final show of its 2018/19 series of plays, Studio Theatre Perth presents The Ladies’ Foursome, a Norm Foster comedy that will make you love the game, even if you, well, currently hate your game.
From folk-rock powerhouses to a third-generation country star, the 2019 Stewart Park Festival line-up is set to be an unforgettable one.
The Small Glories and Kelly Prescott are just some of the names performing at the 28th annual festival taking place in Perth from July 19–21. Festival goers will also get to see Connie Kaldor, Élage Diouf, Shakura S’Aida, Keith Glass and Andy Irvine on stage.
After months of crafting the line-up, Artistic Director James Keelaghan says he’s th......
A House of Good Taste - theHumm July 2019
By Sebastian Weetabix
Like many things related to food (or at least food in our part of the world), the term “restaurant” originated in France. It originally applied to the fare (it was “restorative”), but by the 17th century it had come to mean an establishment where one could eat a meal and pay for it. Eating “out” as a common practice for common folk has its roots in travel and the need for refreshment en route. Those who provided it were, rightly, termed restorers or restaurateurs. Their establishments came......
The Arresting Art of Fred Fowler - theHumm July 2019
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
It’s invigorating to meet someone who challenges your subconscious prejudices. I was surprised to learn that Fred Fowler, outgoing President of the Rideau Lakes Artists’ Association, is a retired Toronto cop. There’s absolutely no reason an ex-cop can’t be a good artist, yet meeting him and seeing his eclectic art definitely expanded my awareness of the influence the mass media has on our preconceptions.
Acrylics, watercolours, oils, monotypes, photographs — Fowler wor......
Who doesn’t enjoy looking at other people’s homes and gardens? What better way to spend a summer day and get inspired!
On Saturday, July 27 from 10am to 5pm you’ll be able to tour seven of Almonte’s most interesting homes and three outstanding gardens. The tour is a fundraiser for the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and the extension of Almonte’s popular Riverwalk.
In the 1890s Almonte was a thriving mill town. Its six textile mills employed most of the town’s residents, with the ......
By — Pippa Norman is graduating from ADHS this year and will be going on to pursue a Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University next fall
Whoever coined the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” must have done so after attending a rehearsal for one of Almonte & District High School Drama Club’s plays. The village being Almonte, and the child being the play.
If you were to attend one of the rehearsals yourself, you would feel as if madness had descended upon you. Student actors fervidly run lines; community volunteers sew seams, drill screws and climb ladders; and director Jennifer Sheffield barrels around the room......
This year’s Ottawa Valley Midsummer HerbFest is being held on Sunday, July 28 from 9am to 4pm — rain or shine. The location is the Waba Cottage Museum & Gardens in White Lake, just an ho......
Festival of Small Halls 2019 Celebrating Big Canadian Music in Beloved Small Places - theHumm July 2019
More halls — check. Big music — check. Magical moments and musical memories — you betcha.
The Ontario Festival of Small Halls plants inspired, decorated and mind-blowing artists into rural h......
By Susie Osler
There is a frantic energy to this time of year. The explosion of growth and green coupled with the energy and warmth of sunshine leads to a commensurate output of manic gardening energy that seem......
By — Angie Arendt is the Director of Big Stone House: a Center for Courageous Living in Almonte <bigstonehouse.ca>
It was the middle of August and the middle of the day. The sun was shining bright, the dog was attempting to cool down on the tile floor, and I was chopping watermelon in the kitchen when the doo......
An interactive theatre experience that celebrates the Great White North and pokes fun at Canadian stereotypes will hit the stage in the nation’s capital for the summer.
The Oh Canada Eh? Din......
From Under the Umbrella Tree to Sleeping Rough… Valley Puppeteers Return to Music and Beyond - theHumm July 2019
Last July, the opera Sleeping Rough premiered at Ottawa’s Music and Beyond festival to standing ovations and critical acclaim. Composed by jazz guitarist Roddy Ellias and with a libretto by poet/......
By — Jeff Mills
Every now and then there are five actual Wednesdays in July, and 2019 is one of those years. The friends of Augusta Street Park are gearing up for their wonderful little music festival “5 Wednesd......
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