How to help my child to overcome stage fright

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How to help my child to overcome stage fright

Postby GreenQ » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:05 am

My gal (4 yo 10 mth) was feeling fear and cried in her piano class few days ago, when I left her alone with other 20+ students and few teachers. They were having rehersal for the coming music concert. I was waiting right outside the room only.

She kept sobbing till the teacher came out and asked me to accompany her in the rehersal room. When she saw me, she stopped crying immediately. But then refused to play the piano piece. Also refused to sing a song and do some actions for that song together with the rest of the students. :(

This was not the first time she scared like that. Last time when she was asked to play the piano piece with a group of other students, she clung to me and refused to perform. Finally I managed to comfort her a little bit but still have to stand behind her when she was playing the piece. Sigh...

What can I do to help her to overcome the fright in such incident?

Actually I was shocked too to see her behaving like that. Never seen before. Or was it because she is a triplets gal. So without the other 2 brothers around, then she lack of confidence to be with strangers? All the while she is ok in her kindergarden... :?

I asked her why. She said she doesn't know who are those students. But actually she was learning piano with the other 2 gals at appreciation music level now. But of course not much chance to 'play' with them. So they are still considerated as strangers to her.

I asked her whether wants to continue attending the piano class. She said YES. I teased her may be we shd stop it. She was sad and asked me to let her attend the class. I love piano, she said.

I am thinking to withdraw her from the concert performance. Shd I do so? Coz I doubt she is ready for stage performance with such behaviour in the rehersal room that day. Worry that taking part in the concert performance will create greater fear for her. But is there any bad impact to withdraw her simply of this reason? I am lost a bit.

Any parents/teachers/music teachers encountered this kind of problem b4? How to help my gal to overcome her fright? Pls share your opinions. Thx!
Last edited by GreenQ on Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby turquoise » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:04 am

Sounds to me like your daughter has stage fright. Obviously she still enjoys her regular piano classes and kindy, so she's not awkward socially. It's more the fear of performing in front of an audience. There are kids who don't enjoy performing, and never outgrow stagefright even at an older age. Why don't you ease your daughter into it? Ask her if she would like to continue in the performance. If not, take her out and let her try again another time. If she's willing to give it a go, ease her into the performance gently, by being with her first, then further away, then out of sight.

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Postby Funguy71 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:23 am

Hi GreenQ,

I think w/o the other 2 little brothers around, she probably felt nervous.

Ask her. If she doesn't want to take part, then let her try in future. Let her be an audience in the concert first. Build her 'confidence' from there. Step by step.

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Postby GreenQ » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:12 pm

Hi turquoise,

Thanks for your suggestions. Yes, she still insists to take part in the performance.

I asked her to choose fr 2 options. Either follow other students and teachers to perform on the stage without mummy, or juz follow mummy without performing. She still choose to perform. Weird!

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Postby Funguy71 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:19 pm

Haha... can imagine once you let her follow her peers to perform on stage, then suddenly she cry to look for you! :wink:

Try to comfort her before she going on stage. That's the best you can do since she likes to take part.

Good luck!

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Postby GreenQ » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:03 am

Funguy71 wrote: can imagine once you let her follow her peers to perform on stage, then suddenly she cry to look for you! :wink:


Hey Funguy71, thanks for your reply! Btw I worry this may really happen tho...

turquoise wrote: If she's willing to give it a go, ease her into the performance gently, by being with her first, then further away, then out of sight.


Think I shd juz do what was suggested by turquoise. Really wish she will have enough courage to face those strangers! :pray:

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Postby Funguy71 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:54 pm

Take it easy, GreenQ. No matter what happen on performance day, it will be a good learning experience for her. And for you as a parent too! :wink:

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Postby sashimi » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:02 pm

GreenQ, have you tried positioning yourself in the audience instead? So that you can both watch your daughter and she can see you are there in the audience seats?
Maybe you can try this during rehearsal. I.e. instead of standing behind her, be in the seats instead. Maybe at the foot of the stage at first, then slowly go sit down right in front. When the lights are dimmed you won't be so obvious, but she could perhaps feel comforted by the fact that you are still there.

Anyway, in these situations, it's best that as the parent, we don't make a big fuss over it and don't keep highlighting it. It's well known that the parent's anxiety contributes to the child's anxiety. Try to be nonchalant about it. You may have to avoid asking her whether she wants your company or not... instead, just quietly go with her (what she expects) at first, then slowly and matter-of-factly walk around, until you end up in the audience seats. The less you both pay attention to the anxiety, the quicker it will be forgotten.

I acknowledge this may not work without some patience, and it may not work at all. good luck!

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Postby GreenQ » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:54 pm

sashimi wrote:GreenQ, have you tried positioning yourself in the audience instead? So that you can both watch your daughter and she can see you are there in the audience seats?
Maybe you can try this during rehearsal. I.e. instead of standing behind her, be in the seats instead. Maybe at the foot of the stage at first, then slowly go sit down right in front. When the lights are dimmed you won't be so obvious, but she could perhaps feel comforted by the fact that you are still there.

Anyway, in these situations, it's best that as the parent, we don't make a big fuss over it and don't keep highlighting it. It's well known that the parent's anxiety contributes to the child's anxiety. Try to be nonchalant about it. You may have to avoid asking her whether she wants your company or not... instead, just quietly go with her (what she expects) at first, then slowly and matter-of-factly walk around, until you end up in the audience seats. The less you both pay attention to the anxiety, the quicker it will be forgotten.

I acknowledge this may not work without some patience, and it may not work at all. good luck!


Thanks and appreciate your suggestions, sashimi.

These few days I have kept asking her (abt 5 or 6 times daily) to ensure whether she seriously wanna take part in the performance... :wink: Weird. She always gives me a positive answer! (Was hoping a negative answer then all problems gone... haha.)

Yes... think I have passed her my anxiety... oops!

Well, I will try hard to talk to her and hope she will be comforted knowing me is one of the audience there when she performs. And yes, must show her my seat when she do rehersal next time. Thanks!

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Embrace The Butterflies

Postby buds » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:35 am

[Editor's note: Topic selected for Portal publication.]

I find that actually no amount of coaxing and preparation
CAN really prepare someone of that stage fright feeling.
I mean when it comes to the real thing... the actual
performance day... the real deal.

Adults get it too! :wink:

When we're nervous about wanting to do it right...
when we are under-prepared... or simply an introvert who
prefers not to be under that many limelights... The sensation
of when those butterflies in your stomach just refuse to quit
fluttering around... It happens. Parents can get butterflies in
their stomach just by watching their kids on stage too! :lol:

That said, by means of preparation can a child feel more
confident when it comes to the big day. That's the reason
why concerts have rehearsals no matter how big and no
matter how small... It can be a play, a small group recital,
a quiet ballet performance, a dance or maybe even a role
of a narrator or emcee for an event... All involved will
require practice. Lotsa practice..

Here are some stuff i do with mine... Just to share. :wink:

>If it's a script, a narration or even just a simple rhyme/song
to be memorized, i give it a couple of days to a week for me &
my DDs to run through together. Just on paper. We take turns
to read expressively and correctly. Especially for a narrator...
There will be occasions where there needs to be a pause, a
paced-up line, a sound... timing and intonation makes a difference.

>When the memorization process is done, if it requires hand gestures/
actions... props... sound effects, (etc)... it will now come into the next
step in our practices. By now, the child would have known majority of
the words and need less time reflecting on the text while doing the
actions or working with the props and stuff.

>For roles of narrators, it would be nice if the narrator does not have
to look down throughout the show to tell the story.. :wink: Remember
to look up and always keep that smile and contact with the audience..
Chin up. :wink:

>Record your practices. Can be just recording a music piece using a
voice recorder or handphone... Can also be a video recording using
a digicam or even a laptop... Play it back. We can role play by trying
out the role our kiddies wud be undertaking as well and intentionally
make a boo-boo and show them how we laugh over it together... To
emphasize that even adults make boo-boos too, so practice make
perfect. :wink: For dances or plays, have some pretend props ready
from things that you can get in the house.. Make space if you wish to
practice and record. Safety first. Don't want to bump into anything...

>For singing, story telling and the likes... invest in a cheap microphone
for effect. I have two types... The lightweight toy kind from Toys R Us
complete with stand and two star shaped stage lights, plus some
clapping sound effects on the mic too!


Image


Image


Image


And I also bought a real piece from Courts. The weight of the real mic
alone can cause butterflies, hehehee.. :lol:

>I get them to perform for friends, grandparents and uncles+cousins,
like a mini performance for the audience effect... Neighbours too, if you
are close to the people in your community! :wink: For mini-home shows,
you can place a basket or a box where people can come and place their
appreciation tokens in sweets or chocolates, cakes or party favours when
the show is over. I noe of a friend who did it like buskering. The guests
actually put in money - yes - real money! Relatives pitched between like
$2 to $10 and they each gave comments and feedback with regards to the
performance.. all in the name of fun & also encouragement for the kiddie..

>If there are shows, musicals, plays in town... you may want to bring
kiddie along for exposure of how a performance is like.. Let kiddie be
in the audience. Run through the idea how you are going to be in the
audience too when the day comes - the same way how kiddie is in the
seat at that time.

>For every practice done together - just casually throw in the fact that
we are proud of them just for the fact that they're doing this and that it
is a joy to see them on stage.. lotsa hugs... lotsa encouragements and
have lotsa fun.

>Have/Come up with your family's own special "calm-down" technique
for the "in-case-you're-feeling-nervous" situations..... like say mebbe
slow & light breathing counts of up to 10..... or knotting little pinkie
around a corner of a shirt/dress..... or a simple self-chant whisper like
"I can do this... I can do this..." :wink: I remember watching Ice Age 3
and the coded message when the female elephant; Ellie, was supposedly
at a telling stage where she knew that she was gonna give birth, she was
just to say, "Peaches." (But she mixed up the code to pineapples... water
melons... and other stuff, which the kiddies and i thought was hilarious!)

>While the first time may usually be the hardest especially for more
introverted children, it may never be the last. The feeling of being on
stage can be addictive. Hehee.. :D Big role or small role, just remember
that no matter how it turns out... our child(ren) has/have taken that first
step to a public appearance... and that on its own is a BIG priceless
experience.

I know i had anxieties when my DDs had to perform anything... More
to the adrenaline rush of excitement. :lol: While i ran along to scurry
to my seat after helping out with the stage, props and make-up... I
always ask, "How're you feelin?" Till today, i can remember vividly
that day when DD1 replied, "Mummy, i feel like passing motion..."
In fact, she was farting in her stand-by seat.. :lol: I just shared with
her, "Hey, kiddo. Mummy too! I wish i could flush out all MY butterflies
too!" DD1 just laughed at that. :wink: "You'll do great! Remember to
SMILE and have fun! Mummy will just be out there watching you with
daddy and mei-mei.. :hugs:"

She nodded in assurance when she saw me giving her our usual I LOVE U
finger gestures... a couple of seats away from the stage. While her voice
cracked a little during the opening... she was on a roll for the consecutive
skits throughout the dramatic play and dance. She was smiling away &
having loads of fun with her friends.. That was when i stopped farting too
i suppose... :oops: And no... no one fainted... uhhmmm.... at the back...
Mine are silent killers. :wink: Thankfully.

At the most, if there really was a whoopful bout of aroma... i'd be like the
others too..... looking around like, hey.. who the heck just poofed here... :|

Wah lao man... At least say excuse me lah right? :lol:

buds
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