Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright

Sara Solovitch. Bloomsbury, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62040-091-3
Solovitch, who once pursued a career as a concert pianist, recounts her decades-long struggle to overcome the devastating and crippling stage fright that forced her to quit the piano at age 19. After 30 years, Solovitch, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, takes it up again at her youngest son’s insistence. With the help of a caring teacher, she begins to practice in new ways and realizes she’s “learning to play for the first time in my life.” But she’s still unable to perform for an audience. After years of study, Solovitch agrees to give a concert at home for three people, which is a disaster. She then decides to give herself a year to get ready to perform a recital for her 60th birthday. Along the way she examines some of the psychological underpinnings of her condition (including a demanding mother who uprooted the family from Canada so that Solovitch could attend a conservatory in New York), discovers the benefits of beta blockers, tries exposure therapy (playing the piano at her local airport), and talks to well known sufferers, including former L.A. Dodger Steve Sax, who had a legendary case of “the yips” after being named Rookie of the Year. It’s a tough road, and readers will find her story fascinating. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel and Goderich Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 06/16/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-1692-7
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-62040-093-7
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