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January/February 2019: Book Reviews

​ Managing Stage Fright: A Guide for Musicians and Music  Teachers , by Julie Jaffee Nagel.  Julie Nagel possesses a rare combination of skills. She has two music degrees from The Juilliard School, three psychology degrees from the University of Michigan, and further training at  the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. I often joke wi...
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Jan/Feb 2018 Mind Matters: Stage fright and symptoms: cause or effect?

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When you think about your stage fright, what are two or three fears or anxieties that come into your mind? When musicians contact me about this painful problem, I typically hear two prominent complaints among many others. These are anxiety about having (1) memory slips and (2) technical failures. As we talk about these anxieties other topics evolve...
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Mind Matters: Stage fright on my mind

Stage fright is on my mind for various reasons. I have spent my entire life dealing with it since my first memory slip at age six, and it has continued to arise in my career as a performer and subsequently as a psychotherapist. Stage fright is not a topic that is easily discussed or admitted, because shame is an embarrassing component of this anxie...
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Reflections on music's life lessons

I imagine that, in one way or another, you are caught up in the drama of politics these days. My feelings have been impassioned and vocal around the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). It is not unusual for me to write when my sensitivities feel challenged, as is cur...
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Music enhances our quality of life

I doubt that any musician (and many non-musicians) reading this article would argue that the survival of music and art is critical to our nation's well-being. The final words in the previous sentence are the title of an article I wrote in 2008 and just rediscovered when going through some files in my office. 1    In writing an opinio...
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Rethinking the master class

Recently, my husband Louie and I presented a joint master class at the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State Conference. We have developed a different format for these educational, and sometimes intimidating, sessions where a student performs before an audience of peers and teachers, and an invited guest teacher, by reputation a "master," ma...
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Mind Matters: Retirement

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Imagine this: for many years you and your students have created many personal memories and memorable musical moments. You have contributed to your profession and felt emotionally enriched and, sometimes, financially rewarded. You have established a home, found a satisfying personal and family life, and planted roots in your community. You have atte...
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Mind Matters: The Odd Couple

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When I returned to graduate school in psychology, writing papers was a typical assignment. This was often the case in courses dealing with clinical material. I remember being assigned a paper in a class on Family Dynamics; we were asked to describe a family we were treating and discuss how the work was progressing. At the time of this assignment, I...
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What happens in Vegas should NOT stay in Vegas!

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​I am writing this just after returning from Las Vegas, where I attended some wonderful programs at the 2015 Music Teachers National Association Conference. I also presented sessions as part of a Pedagogy Saturday track that explored the psychological and physical health of musicians.  Las Vegas is a city of sights, sounds, foods, and a t...
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How do you deal with "stage fright" or performance anxiety?

Anyone who has ever walked on stage and performed a piano solo by memory has had to deal in some way with "stage fright" or performance anxiety. I remember walking toward the piano as a child and thinking, "I don't know the first note of my piece. I hope my hands can find it." Fortunately, they did, but it was very unnerving. I also remember feelin...
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