The most addictive part of performance is to be so well-prepared that musicians can allow the magic of the moment to speak through them, says Christine Vanderkooy.
Associate professor of music and education in the UWindsor Faculty of Education, she is the subject of a profile in the current issue of Canadian Music Teacher Magazine, the house organ of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations.
A pianist, Dr. Vanderkooy has performed as a soloist across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Her own experience with music performance anxiety led her to conduct research in the area.
“I knew I wasn’t alone in my experience even though it wasn’t a big part of the formal dialogue amongst musicians at the time,” she tells interviewer Lori Elder. “The body’s fight or flight response elicits the same response as being cornered by a bear and can be debilitating for musicians who require immaculate control of fine motor skills, acute attention to subtle nuances, and detailed intellectual control.”
She tells students that preparation is one of the best strategies for dealing with anxiety.
“Teaching highly conscious practicing that prepares students for performance, including opportunities for graded exposure to performance, are all valuable tools and help to build self-efficacy,” says Vanderkooy. “Showing students how to be highly engaged during practice, right from the first time they approach a new piece, helps begin a journey toward secure memorization and performance.”
The profile also offers discussion of Beethoven’s sonatas, adjudicating competitions, and Vanderkooy’s plans for future appearances in concert and recording.
Read the entire article starting on page 11 of the Spring 2020 Canadian Music Teacher Magazine.