This cultural history and memoir of stage fright will resonate with anyone terrified of speaking or performing in public.
Stage fright is one of the human psyche's deepest fears, challenging actors, musicians, professional athletes, and people from all walks of life. Surveys in the United States repeatedly rank public speaking as one of the top fears, affecting up to 74 percent of people.
Sara Solovitch studied piano as a young child and fell in love with music. At 10 she played Bach and Mozart in her hometown's annual music festival but was overwhelmed by fear. As a teen she attended Eastman School of Music, where stage fright led her to give up aspirations of becoming a professional pianist. In her late 50s, Sara gave herself a one-year deadline to tame performance anxiety and play before an audience. She resumed music lessons while exploring meditation, exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, biofeedback, beta blockers, and other remedies. She performed in airports, hospitals, and retirement homes before renting a public hall and performing for 50 guests on her 60th birthday. Using her own journey as inspiration, Solovitch has written a thoughtful and insightful examination of the myriad causes of stage fright and the equally diverse ways to overcome it, and a tribute to pursuing personal growth at any age.
"If your knees knock, your heart races and your sweat glands become hydrants at the terrifying prospect of taking the stage, you're in good company. I once had stage fright. So did Sara Solovitch. If you're in the club, fear not. This book will set you free." (Steve Lopez, author of The Soloist: A Lost Dream, An Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music)
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