Notes from the Green Room: Coping with Stress and Anxiety in Musical Performance

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Almost everyone who sings or plays a musical instrument gets nervous when having to perform in public, whether in school, at a church recital, before friends and guests, or before a paying public who expects an absolutely top-notch performance. In a recent survey of the music department at a midwestern university, two-thirds of the students experienced significant levels of performance anxiety, and virtually none of them knew what to do about it. Notes from the Green Room explains the causes of musical ...
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Overview

Almost everyone who sings or plays a musical instrument gets nervous when having to perform in public, whether in school, at a church recital, before friends and guests, or before a paying public who expects an absolutely top-notch performance. In a recent survey of the music department at a midwestern university, two-thirds of the students experienced significant levels of performance anxiety, and virtually none of them knew what to do about it. Notes from the Green Room explains the causes of musical performance anxiety and suggests ways to deal with them effectively. Salmon and Meyer draw on cognitive and behavioral psychology to show how proper preparation as well as techniques such as learning experiments, relaxation training, tension management, graded exposure to groups of various sizes, and self-criticism can relieve the compulsion that often accompanies an individual's musical performance. Achievement as a performer at all levels can be aided by access to educational, medical, and psychological resources that, when coupled with genuine ability and hard work, can help performers refine their skills, cope with stress more effectively, and generally limit the probability of physical or psychological impairments both on- and offstage. Notes from the Green Room merges contemporary psychological theories of stress and anxiety with a consideration of the pragmatic aspects of becoming an effective performer. Many of the techniques and ideas described throughout the book were developed in conjunction with clients who have participated in the performance skills program at the University of Louisville. This book will be essential to the performances of musicians at any level - from church organist to world-class operatic soloist.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Notes from the Green Room is a welcome and unique addition to theliterature on performance anxiety for both musicians andclinicians. Educational and practical, it will inspire a variety ofpossible therapeutic approaches." (Alice G. Brandfonbrener, M.D.,Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)

"Drs. Salmon and Meyer are expert psychologists who haveexplored the roots of performance anxiety (and suggest measures forits alleviation) in a way extremely helpful to both students andaccomplished performers who 'nervousness' prevents them from fullrealizing their potential on stage or even on less formaloccasions." (Robert Parris, professor of music, George WashingtonUniversity)

"These talented and knowledgeable authors offer musicians a veryclear description of the mechanisms involved in performance anxietyand suggest concrete ideas for channeling the negative aspects ofanxiety into a positive force. Especially effective are the casehistories offering real life examples of musicians dealing with thestresses and strains of performance. This should be requiredreading for all musicians!" (Gail J. Berenson, professor of piano,chair keyboard division, Ohio University School of Music)

"A superb job? beyond the notably obvious beneficialimplications built into this book for musicians, the authors havecompiled a thorough and comprehensive treatise which deals withevery facet of anxiety and stress management for performers,regardless of their discipline . . . this work should be obligatoryreading." (Lee Bash, chair, Department of Fine & PerformingArts, Bellarmine College and director, Kentucky Governor's Schoolfor the Arts)

"Notes from the Green Room is a superb study of musicalperformance anxiety. Beginning students, seasoned performers, andteachers can all benefit from the practical help it provides. Itwill certainly become required reading for all my students." (JamesKibbie, University of Michigan School of Music)

"Performers, as well as the growing group of professionalstreating performance anxiety, should have this important book ontheir reference shelves." (Alan Grishman, performance anxietyconsultant, musician)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780669250107
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

PAUL G. SALMON is an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Louisville, director of clinical research at the Genesis Center, and a professional musician. ROBERT G. MEYER is a professor of psychology at the University of Louisville.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Performer 1
2 The Psychology of Coping with Performance Stress 19
3 The Whole Performer 46
4 Stress and Performing 86
5 The Nature of Anxiety 121
Some Modern Views of Anxiety 121
Historical Perspective 123
A Three-Factor Model of Anxiety 126
Adaptive Aspects of Anxiety 128
The Self-Perpetuating Quality of Anxiety 131
Critical Features of Anxiety 132
Future Orientation and Anxiety 133
Summary 135
6 Getting Help for Stress and Anxiety 137
7 The Cognitive Side of Performing 153
Thoughts as Automatic Responses 153
Thoughts and the Anxiety Spiral 155
Errors in Logic 156
Irrational Beliefs 159
Thinking and Problem-Solving 161
Thoughts and Coping Skills 163
Thoughts and Defense Mechanisms 164
Thought Patterns and Performance Skills 165
Summary 167
8 Basic Stress Management Skills 169
Relaxation and the Quieting Response 171
Progressive Relaxation Techniques 178
Imagery 182
Cognitive Restructuring 187
Low Stress Practice 192
9 Anxiety and Stress in Perspective 196
How Anxiety Expresses Itself 199
How Anxiety Can Affect Us 199
What Anxiety Represents 201
Factors Related to Performance Anxiety 202
Coming to Terms with Anxiety 204
Notes 212
Index 229
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