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Stage fright


taxi4ballet
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I think both dd and non dd have said to look for an object and spot on that rather than the audience - but that doesn't actually get you out onto the stage!!  I'll try and get more out of them.

 

Good luck and best wishes for the performance.

 

 

edited because I pressed post before I'd finished

Edited by porthesia
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Non dd has said she's not had stage fright so she's no help.  Would you consider using the Bach flower remedies - I think there is a calming one - I've never tried these but others have recommended them.

 

I imagine once the first phrase has been sung that the song will take her over and she'll be fabulous.

 

How does she cope with exam nerves for dance - perhaps there is something she does for those that will help.

 

Looking forward to hearing how it went and keeping fingers crossed the dreaded stage fright doesn't spoil it for her

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My drama daughter says a little bit of fear is good. Try to use the adrenaline to power her performance. Get her to sing to you,and perhaps to her friends. Practice as much as possible and remember to breathe in a controlled manner as over breathing affects singing ability. Good luck! x

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I always thought of it as excitement rather than fear.

 

A good question to ask oneself before going on is - do I want to do this?  If the answer is "yes"" - do it.

 

If the answer is "no" - fulfill your obligation and don't do it again.

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What form does the stage fright take? Personally, the only way I have ever been able to deal with the shakes and fear is to practise in front of a watching audience as much as possible, and gradually get used to doing it.  But it doesn't sound as though that is working in her case? 

 

Could she possibly get something from the doctor to calm her down before she has to sing?

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I don't know what started it all off, she says there isn't a particular thing that may have triggered it.

 

Anjuli, she doesn't want to sing! That's the problem really, but she has to do it whether she likes it or not.... (I am waiting for a phonecall from the school as I write).

 

Unfortunately, what happens is that she gets in a state, starts to tremble and her throat closes up, which means that she just physically can't sing - if she tries she knows it sounds horrible, and she isn't the most confident of people anyway, and she says it is really embarassing.

 

Not sure whether the school is going to be able to help, but it can't carry on much longer, it is making her miserable, and she worries for days when she knows one of the performance sessions is coming up.

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Is this some one of task for some sort of assessment purposes then? As I can't think of another reason why she should be "forced" to sing! Will it mean she fails some whole curriculum area? If she's that miserable surely they can accommodate.

For example does she just have to sing "to a group in public"

If so does it have to be the WHOLE class? Perhaps a smaller group(of more known sympathetic class mates) ?

 

I do sympathise as I think singing or playing a musical instrument is worse than dancing if you suffer from nerves as everything gets concentrated into that part of the body.....trembling hands.....wobbly voice...

 

If she has practised at home and can get a reasonable (or even fabulous rendition) then she knows she can do it at least.

The Bach remedy she may need is White Chestnut......for unwanted and interfering negative thoughts or the more general Rescue Remedy.......but really can she find some way of psychologically reducing the stress....perhaps not taking it so seriously.....so it won't matter so much if it doesn't go as well as she wants?

Sometimes it's just the first couple of mins and she can always ask to start again and then she may relax a little but it's not easy this one I know!! It's like all your worst fears coming true!! But these are her classmates not some unknown official examiner so I'm sure they will be very forgiving......she won't be the only one dreading it......perhaps they can form a little supportive group?

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It's for GCSE Music, and they are continually assessed on their progress... when she opted for it she knew she would have to perform for the exam itself, but not continually. She's afraid of getting into trouble with the school if she refuses point-blank to do it.

 

She won't sing at home at all.

 

The teacher is helping, and once left her on her own in a room with recording equipment, but even that was hard for her.

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If this is essential then is there any chance of a bit of private tuition with someone trained to deal with excessively nervous people?

I know some musicians take some sort of Beta Blocker (from GP) before concerts but this would only be at emergency level operation for your daughter I think.

There must be someone who can help her. Does she need GCSE in music? Does she do any other form of music eg piano at home?

 

It's probably the combination of age, performing to classmates or in public and it being an assessment to boot!!

Does she sing in a choir? If not perhaps that would be a good move and if so perhaps the choir teacher may be able to help?

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Does she sing in the school choir, taxi? And does she have private singing lessons at school? Does she play an instrument?

 

My dd has just had to do her first GCSE assessment this week and chose to sing rather than play an instrument.

The more she sings in the choirs, the less nervous she gets about singing in public. She has singing lessons as well as piano lessons at school and I think once she'd had to get used to singing in front of her teacher, then in front of the ABRSM examiner, the less scary it became.

 

She said she was very nervous about singing in front of the whole class though - not surprising!

 

Your poor dd - if she can play any instrument that could be a way around it because certainly at dd's school it doesn't have to be singing.

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I think if you have not sung in a choir being asked to then sing solo is a tall order.

 

Is there a chance with the wonders of modern technology that she could be in a room on her own (or with friend for moral support) and sing with this then being relayed to the class live so it's a live performance so to speak or would this be considered cheating!?

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I don't know that it would be cheating....more that you'd then get other people wanting to do it, which defeats the object of a "performance" and could be construed as unfair on those who do manage to sing "live". Very tricky!

 

If playing an instrument is not an option, then I wonder what a performance psychologist would advise? Could she sing a few notes to you from another room with the door shut, then very gradually increase that to a whole line, then a whole song, then open the door etc?

 

Although I do realise that would take some time. :-(

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There are a couple of approaches which might help with what seems like panic which is almost becoming a phobia. It's best not to let this take hold and there are things that might help to try. One of the important things is to look at what she believes might happen in the situation as it is the thought/belief that fuels the somatic symptoms of anxiety which then impacts ability to sings. It gets stuck as a vicious cycle. There is a v simple book which might help her to understand what is going on as once you can make sense of it this in turn helps to break the cycle as it creates new meaning. PM me if I can be of help. The other thing which would probably help is a session of EMDR with a psychologist or therapist in your area.

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Yes it probably will be construed as cheating........or if she could do this first .......and assuming it goes well and all her classmates see that she's fine then she might have the nerve to do the real thing in front of them!!

 

The trouble is when I was that age even if I hated something I just did it because there was no challenging any tasks set at school in those days!! And if anybody did refuse(I do remember one girl in particular) it was like they came from another planet or something even if you secretly admired them!!! But it is different these days.

My nerves would come out in the giggles(still do on occasions) so I would have probably giggled my way through a solo at 15-16 or got a detention(which were always on Saturday mornings) so fear of this and the subsequent dealings with annoyed parents would have probably got me through it in the end!!

 

Very shortly after I moved to Brighton I applied for an audition to join the Brighton Festival Choir having no idea of their illustrious status.

Then I fell over and broke my ankle but was determined to go,ahead so on a very wet and windy January evening, partner dropped me at the Sussex Uni in Falmer where the audition was and I had ready my prepared little folk song piece. Well waiting outside this hall for my turn I could hear all these really operatic voices penetrating the walls and could feel a terrible attack of the giggles just round the corner.

The whole thing turned out tobe like a scene from a farce with me hobbling down what turned out to be this long staircase on my crutches while they waited patiently then me dropping the music everywhere etc. Anyway I did the solo the best I could but then came the sight reading which I'd never done before and I really had to suppress a desire to collapse into a heap with the giggles. Actually the pianist was amazingly helpful and prevented the whole thing from being an "absolute disaaaster" as Craig would say.

Then they had to wait while I hobbled all the way up the stairs again on my way out!

Needless to say a very thin envelope arrived a few weeks later informing me that "I had been unsuccessful on this occasion"

 

 

Anyway Taxi let us know what happens with your daughter I hope there is a successful way around it all!

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Thanks all for your helpful advice. :)

 

She sings in the choir, and enjoys that. She also has absolutely no problem dancing solo.

 

Re the GCSE - she doesn't play an instrument, and wouldn't have any time to devote to lessons or practice either, she dances every moment! She did have singing lessons for a short while, but didn't enjoy them, so didn't carry on.

 

It would be great to find some sort of counselling but we certainly couldn't afford to pay for it, so I'm hoping there will be someone at her school who can offer guidance on this. I am starting to get a bit frustrated with the school though, I rang yesterday morning and again today asking to speak to her head of year, and so far he hasn't rung back...grrrr.

 

Balleteacher, I will PM you

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It seems to me the problem is not stage fright nor anxiety - but being forced

 

 "Anjuli, she doesn't want to sing! That's the problem really, but she has to do it whether she likes it or not.."

 

As you say, that's the problem.

 

That's what has to change.  One way or another - sooner or later - 

 

When the mind really doesn't want to do something - the body will react.

 

We impose "have to's" - but that doesn't change the underlying problem.

 

I know what I've said doesn't help.

 

I wish her the very best.

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Spanner..it's a v short term therapeutic approach often used to treat post traumatic stress disorder but works v well for phobias if there is an initial memory of distressing event linked to feared situation. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. It's not a form of hypnosis and was developed by an American psychologist.

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Wow, that sounds fascinating. Thank you. :-)

 

Taxi, would it be too late to change from Music GCSE to another subject? If she doesn't play another instrument and didn't enjoy singing lessons, I'm not sure she's going to like the GCSE. :-(

 

At dd's school you have to have a minimum of Grade 2 at any instrument (including voice) to start the GCSE. Probably a sensible idea because it gives the girls the option of singing or playing, and those who sing are used to singing to an examiner.

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Has she had any feedback or mark for the singing she has attempted so far?  It comes across that it is embarrassment that she sounds horrible as much as anything else, especially difficult when you are not that confident and when you like to do your best.  My DD got herself really worked up with fear for her German oral exam and her teacher gave her a mock, though let DD believe it was the real thing.  As soon as they started the recording DD began to gabble and talk nonsense.  Once she got her mark and saw her worst result DD's confidence did begin to improve a little because as she said she could not do any worse.  One tip the teacher did give her for public speaking was to give her hands something to do.  She recommended one of those squeezy stress balls because she said if you were working out the stress with your hands there was less in your voice.  I don't know if the same works for singing but if it helps?

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Taxi, would it be too late to change from Music GCSE to another subject? If she doesn't play another instrument and didn't enjoy singing lessons, I'm not sure she's going to like the GCSE. :-(

 

Well, that's what I am waiting to talk to the head of year about!!! Still no reply, and I am beginning to get exasperated with them now. 

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