An Elementary Vocal Music Teaching Module Focusing on Prevention of Performance Anxiety

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carrie R. Bain (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Valarie A. Austin

Abstract: At the time of a performance, the performer may feel anxiety due to the unknown reactions of the audience or performance outcomes. As a performer, one needs to determine the cause of his/her individual trigger of performance anxiety. "The central difference between fear/anxiety is that fear is a reaction to a specific danger, while anxiety is a reaction to an unspecific source. The special characteristics of anxiety are the feelings of uncertainty and helplessness in the face of danger" (Havas, 1973 p.6).To a performer, stage fright can be a very common disabler. Many people will attempt to diminish stage fright by practicing to better their skills as performers. Although appropriate preparation is a "must" to produce a quality performance, one also needs to remove musical and vocal insecurities and self-doubt or, as Green calls it, "inner chatter" (1986, pp. 18-23) that may hinder the performance. Also according to Green (p.12) there is a performance, "p" presents one's potential, and "i" represents interference (a person's ability to get in his/her own way). One can practice for hours but self-doubt, the performer comes closer to realizing his/her potential. Green states there are ways to alleviate performance anxiety such as preparing oneself completely (vocally and musically) and then trusting the achieved levels of one's abilities.This study describes a teaching module for use with elementary chorus students over a six-week period. This module implements teaching strategies recognized by practicing professionals as discussed in Henderson's "How to Train Singers to Sing" and Barker's "The Alexander Technique: Learning to Use Your Body for Total Energy", to minimize anxiety during performances. The students were divided into two groups, treatment and control. The treatment group was made up of twenty-two fourth and fifth grade choral students from the author's elementary school chorus. The treatment group met once a week for forty minutes. The control group was made up of twenty students from the author's colleague, meeting once a week for forty minutes. The treatment group received specific strategies were separated into the three categories: practice, performance, and physical exercises. The control group received general music instruction by their regular music instructor. Both groups were given the pre and post-survey (Appendix C) to determine their preparation skills regarding vocal performances. Results indicate varying differences pertaining to what techniques should be used to diminish anxiety during performances.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Performance Anxiety, Audience, Fear, Anxiety, Stage Fright, Elementary, Performance Anxiety Prevention

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