Why is it that well-prepared, talented, hardworking, and intelligent performers find their performance and self-esteem undermined by the fear of memory slips, technique failures, and public humiliation? In Managing Stage Fright: A Guide for Musicians and Music Teachers, author Julie Jaffee Nagel unravels these mysteries, taking the reader on an intensive backstage tour of the anxious performer’s emotions to explain why stage fright happens and what performers can do to increase their comfort in the glare of the spotlight.
Examining the topic from her interdisciplinary educational, theoretical, clinical, and personal perspectives, Nagel uses the music teacher/student relationship as a model for understanding the performance anxiety that affects musicians and non-musicians alike. Shedding new light on how the performer’s emotional life is connected to every other facet of their life, Managing Stage Fright encourages a deeper understanding of anxiety when performing. The guide offers strategies for achieving performance confidence, emphasizing the relevance of mental health in teaching and performing.
Through the practices of self-awareness outlined in the book, Nagel demonstrates that it is possible and desirable for teachers to assist students in developing the coping skills and attitudes that will allow them to not feel overwhelmed and powerless when they experience strong anxiety. Each chapter contains insights that help teachers recognize the symptoms-obvious, subtle, and puzzling-of the emotional grip of stage fright, while offering practical guidelines that empower teachers to empower their students. The psychological concepts offered, when added to pedagogical techniques, are invaluable in music performance and in a variety of life situations since, after all, music lessons are life lessons.
“A most important book that addresses the elephant in the room for virtually all performers” –Leon Fleisher
“Julie Jaffee Nagel’s impressively detailed and valuable analysis of stage fright provides an indispensable guide for teachers, students, and professional musicians concerned with this all too common and often intractable problem.” –A rnold Steinhardt, First Violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet “Julie Jaffee Nagel has given us a beautifully organized and sympathetically written book that successfully addresses the issue of stage fright, a topic too often neglected, to the regret of the performer…Students, teachers, parents, and performers of all types would do well to read it.” –Joseph W. Polisi, President, The Juilliard School “Utilizing her unique qualifications as a performer, pedagogue, and psychoanalyst, Nagel weaves essential psychological concepts, probing questions, insightful case studies, and practical suggestions into absorbing, easy-to-read guidebook on stage fright for musicians. This book should be required learning for everyone who teaches music lessons, or, as Nagel considers them, ‘life lessons’.” –Dr. Gary L. Ingle, Executive Director and CEO, Music Teachers National Association “When self-doubt and the fear of what others think creeps into our students’ psyche, what are we to do? How can we coach pianists to find the right balance of adrenalin, mental and emotional health to develop successful performance skills? Answers to all of these questions are addressed in Julie Jaffee Nagel’s new book called Managing Stage Fright: A Guide for Musicians and Music Teachers. The well-organized, easy-to-read book is packed with sensible advice, insightful tips, and well-researched strategies. It’s a must-have for any music teacher’s library. That’s what sets this book apart–it’s not only for performers, it’s also for teachers of performers!” –Leila Viss, 88 Piano Keys
About the Author
Julie Jaffee Nagel, Ph.D. is a graduate of The Juilliard School, The University of Michigan and The Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. The critically acclaimed author of Melodies of the Mind, she has drawn from over twenty years of multidisciplinary experience to shed light on performance anxiety as well as the important role of music in understanding a wide range of human emotions. She is also a regular contributor to Huffington Post and The Clavier Companion. She is in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan.