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June 10, 2004

Stage Fright in Music Performance 
and Its Relationship to the Unconscious
by Michael  I. Goode
review by Ed Vincent

A very well written book.  It's research and
anecdotal entries are both vast and interesting. 
Some aspects of the writing are at times high brow and technical and the balance is reached with the down to earth examples of actual case studies. 

The book has the feel of being suited to the horned brass orchestral player, but it is also a must read to music instructors and parents who have children in the musical performance arts (singing, dance, etc.). 

The author Michael Goode has been sought out to give some lectures and presentations to groups of stage actors from across the nation (and soon perhaps global).  His works before these groups are targeted towards live theater and film actors.  Mr. Goode's work is a long time in coming and we are all pleased that he has produced this book for the many who may find it both informative and helpful in their individual situations.  Mr. Goode has been interviewed and written for publications around the
world and we are pleased to have him as wonderful
citizen, writer, and musician from Oak Park.  A
recommended book for those who want or need to
know more about stage performance.

Author:  Michael I. Goode
ISBN:  097439341X
Publisher:  Trumpetworks
Price:  $ 24.95

The study of classical music, voice, and their performance have been the subject of many books and magazine articles. Many of these writings discuss the rules of etiquette, protocol, and musical style with regard to performance of musical works in the orchestral and vocal field. However, very few have touched on the role of the unconscious in music performance. On the stage, few books have ever touched on the role of the unconscious in acting.

There are both positive and negative aspects of the role of the unconscious in the performance of music, drama, dance, courtroom work, athletics or any other field. The positive aspects result in a joyous, memorable performance, and the negative aspects result in a disastrous, uncomfortable experience for both the audience, and even more so, for the performer. When performers cannot display their talent to their highest level of ability in front of an audience, it is most likely that they are suffering from performance anxiety, more commonly known as stage fright.

There are underlying psychological reasons for the condition of stage fright and its potentially devas- tating effects. These reasons can also be described in physiological and biochemical terms. We will discuss present medical and other solutions to this problem.

All of the case histories found in this book are composites derived from many performers in the field of music including those in the operatic and vocal field. Any resemblance to any one particular living or deceased individual is unintended and is purely coincidental.

The book also gives examples of great performers from the orchestral world, who had no stage fright at all, particularly the legendary members of the Chicago Symphony Brass Section, led by Adolph Herseth and including Arnold Jacobs, as well as William Scarlett. The fact that these great performers had no stage fright whatsoever is analyzed and examined.

Included in this work are color photos, other illustrations, an index, a glossary of helpful terms, and an extensive bibliography of all the sources used to research this text.

Although this book uses examples from the field of classical music, the concepts presented within are useful.