The Voice and Speech Trainer's Association (VASTA) has an annual publication called the Voice and Speech Review (VSR). This year, the VSR Editorial Board gave awards for publications in four categories, and I am honored to have received the first ever Graduate Research Award for my recently published article. In 2009, I completed my MA in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and when they created an MFA in Voice Studies I completed the "top up" remotely from NYC. My dissertation was about the relationship between performance anxiety and Fitzmaurice Voicework's Destructuring.
I want to extend my thanks to my students, the source of my inspiration, for their time, energy, and spirit. Thank you for allowing me to be a teacher and remain a student. I learn so much from you every day. I am also grateful for the guidance and support of my colleagues and editors Jeff Morrison and Rocky Sansom.
Breath, tremoring, and performance anxiety: How can Fitzmaurice Voicework’s Destructuring address performance anxiety in undergraduate acting training?
This study explores the relationship between the student experience of performance anxiety and Fitzmaurice Voicework’s Destructuring in undergraduate actor training. While current voice texts primarily focus on reducing habitual tension through various exercises, the acute and detrimental experience of performance anxiety is not fully addressed. However, the problem does not solely exist in the lack of literature for voice pedagogy, but is threefold: 1) Systemic: there are no clear coping strategies for performance anxiety embedded in theatre or voice training; 2) Practical: voice teachers are not qualified to provide therapeutic support to students dealing with performance anxiety; and 3) Research: performance anxiety has a debilitating effect on vocal performance. Utilizing Grounded Theory as a methodology, four phases of data collection were triangulated. Three core themes emerged from the data: increased body awareness, parasympathetic activation, and self-care. From these themes, a theory was formed that Fitzmaurice Voicework’s Destructuring work can be used as a self-regulation strategy for students with performance anxiety, and also promote autonomy and resilience. Ultimately, students can use Fitzmaurice Voicework as a practical way to self-regulate and increase awareness of their somatic experiences, as well as promote self-care in their training.
You can access the article here, although you will need a VASTA membership. If you're a student and would like to read it, please let me know.
I'm working with a fellow MMC alum, Joe Hetterly, on a new article!