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Stage Fright and Flight -> Fight

At the previous musicale, I just noticed we were talking two different things:

Stage Fright: the anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience.

Stage Flight : On stage when you loose control, you tend to speed up, which equals Flight: handing control over to behavioral functions and letting your legs and your hands run you out of the problem zone. ( This is my problem....)


Fight: You have to face the realty of the situation and Fight. That means bravely brace yourself and listen to and take responsibility for every note, even if it's scary, perhaps slowing down. Give your musical brain a chance


My previous teacher, Dr. Jura Margulis, wrote a wonderful book "Pianist to Pianist".

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James Baskerville
James Baskerville
15 Ιουλ 2020

Carol I agree with you completely. My doctor also prescribed a beta-blocker for me called Inderal. I still get stage fright big time, but the physical effects such as faster heartbeat, trembling, faster breathing etc. no longer happen. Therefore I'm able to work through it. It's weird to be afraid, but be aware of it and still be able to play reasonably well. It's as though I'm watching someone else be afraid. And if I make a mistake, it no longer feels as though it's the end of the world. But I'm afraid of taking too much or taking it too often because I don't want to be so relaxed that I don't feel the music that I'm playing. But…

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Carol Andrus Wazlavek
Carol Andrus Wazlavek
15 Ιουλ 2020

Utako - re: stage fright/flight/fight - excellent concepts, at the zoom meeting I really was surprised to hear we all have different experiences. I would say - from my experience - the use of beta blockers DOES control the physical problems, but not the racing thoughts. Xanax does help with both issues, but I feel like there's a dullness and a disconnect when I use that. I continue to swear by continued meditation practice. Also, the more exposure you have, the better. I "acquired a lot of immunity" the years that I played for teen pageants. It was a show, it WAS demanding, there was always a LARGE audience, and I didn't much figure that anyone was really focusing …

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You are absolutely right, Jimmy. I have a bad habit to speed up the difficult places that I don't have confidence.

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James Baskerville
James Baskerville
10 Ιουλ 2020

From what I've gathered from reading, Stage Flight is a product of Stage Fright. In other words, stage fright causes adrenaline to be released which causes much faster heartbeat, increase in rate of breathing, perspiration, and similar symptoms associated with fear. This also tends to make you do everything faster. When I experience it, I can feel myself speeding up but cannot seem to find a way to slow it down, until finally I crash and burn! And then when it's over, it's hard to imagine that I was feeling like that only a few minutes ago! Probably a person who suffers from stage fright (performance anxiety) to a lesser degree is able to

control how they react (slowing down,…

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