Curtains To Stage Fright
Dr. Julie Nagel
speaks from experience
a common malady
PHOTO BY JONATHAN LURIE
SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
physical symptoms by under-
Most commonly, she reports,
people are afraid they are going
to forget their material or lose
control. Some sense their heart
racing or have indigestion each
time they are about to appear in
front of a group.
Dr. Nagel, who has found that
stage fright often is associated
with long-term difficulties spe-
Dr. Julie Nagel: Stage fright can be controlled.
cific to each person, knows first-
hand how desperate sufferers can
Formerly a concert pianist, she
hen Julie Jaffee Nagel attends tal Health Clinic, where she is co-
synagogue or temple services, she ordinator of the arts psychology endured severe discomfort at the
thought of facing audiences and
instinctively thinks of the bimah program.
`People go up to do a portion of had to come to terms with those
as a stage and the Torah-reading
the service, which they probably feelings. This led to redirecting
members as performers.
Dr. Nagel, whose trained eye have known since they were very her career so that she could help
monitors the comfort levels of the young, and they forget. They gar- others with conditions similar to
people before her, is a psycholo- ble it all the time. That's stage hers.
"I went to Juilliard fully think-
• st and clinical social worker fright.
"It's not that they're stupid or ing I would be a pianist and per-
specializing in stage fright, also
known as performance anxiety. don't know it. People who have former when I finished," revealed
Besides doing one-to-one coun- stage fright tend to be very the psychologist, who has pre-
seling in private practice, the Ann bright, resourceful and creative. sented concerts with her hus-
Arbor psychotherapist lectures, The last thing they are is stupid, band, Louis Nagel, a classical
conducts workshops and writes but the first thing they feel is stu- musician and member of the pi-
ano faculty at the University of
articles about the apprehension pid.
"Before they utter a sound, Michigan.
often confronting entertainers,
"I got a bachelor's degree and
business people, organization of- they are afraid they are going to
a master's degree from Juilliard,
ficers and others who make pre- make fools of themselves."
In her practice, Dr. Nagel uses all the time experiencing stage
sentations before groups.
"Some day, I would like to do an analytical approach, probing fright. When I was at school I
a workshop on aliyah anxiety," underlying issues to help inch- never really knew what was go-
said Dr. Nagel, who is on the staff vidual performers and public ing on, but I had a feeling of be-
of the McAuley Outpatient Men- speakers allay their emotional or ing very nervous.
"I talked to my teachers about
it and asked what I could do.
Their advice was to practice hard-
er or simply not worry about it.
No one in the school could have
practiced harder than I did, and
I just could not stop worrying.
"I graduated, taught piano and
performed piano, even though
stage fright made all that very
After reading an article about
the subject, Dr. Nagel started to
change her outlook. She decid-
ed to enroll in U-M courses she
thought would help her downplay
While doing that for herself,
she earned a master's degree in
clinical social work, a master's
degree in psychology and doctor-
al degrees in both social work and
Her research findings began
to be published, and she was in-
vited to present lectures, includ-
ing at the American
Psychological Association in
Washington, Rubin Academy of
Music and Dance in Israel, Con-
ference on Cultural Economics in
France and the First Interna-
tional Conference on Tension in
Music Performance in England.
Active in professional psycho-
logical associations, she present-
ly is on the planning committee
STAGE FRIGHT page 60