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January 2022

Effect of beta blockade on singing performance

Author(s): Saegert, J., Wilson, N., Johnson, L., Shepherd, A., Hearne, E. M. d

Journal/Book: Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1985; 94: 570-4.

Abstract: The symptoms associated with performance anxiety, or the so-called stage fright syndrome, are similar to those of alpha and beta adrenergic stimulation. Suppression of symptoms and improvement in instrumentalist's performance after beta blockade suggest that this modality would be of benefit for singers as well. To evaluate the dose-effect relationship of beta blockade upon singing performance and the possible effect of these agents upon performance maturation, we studied 34 singing students during end of semester juries, using a double-blind crossover paradigm. Students performed once with either placebo, 20, 40, or 80 mg of nadolol, and again 48 hours later, with placebo. There was a significant dose-related, limiting effect upon intraperformance cardiac rate. A small, but statistically significant, dichotomous effect upon performance rating was noted: low-dose nadolol tended to enhance performance, whereas larger doses impaired performance. We conclude that the effects of low dose beta blockade upon singing are minimally helpful and high doses may detract from performance ability.

Keyword(s): Adrenergic beta-Antagonists|PD. Anxiety|PC. Music|. Vocal Cords|DE

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