I’m always excited about books like this. Most times they fill gaping holes in the normal music curriculum, and give me at least a few gems of knowledge I hadn’t thought about before. Learn more about the book at www.musiciansway.com.
Practice, Performance, and Wellness
The subtitle of the book is an outline of what you’ll find inside. Part one deals with, “practicing deeply.” It begins with the necessary, but mundane, subjects of organizing practice time and creating a supportive practice environment. Klickstein divides practice into five zone: new, developing, and performance material along with technique and musicianship. Some of these are self-explanatory, others explore ares few people venture. How much of your practice includes sight reading and ear training?
The following chapters look at how to work with material in each practice zone, and cover things such as mental practice, selecting repertoire, memorization, interpretative issues, and taking breaks in practice. The material is necessarily general. A book could not contain specific practice suggestions for every major piece in every instrument’s repertoire. I consider the generality of this advice a strength. The practice concepts in The Musician’s Way could be easily integrated with whatever your private instructor is giving you.
I have always thought that there needed to be a good, lengthy book on practicing, but I’d never found one I liked. It had gotten to the point where I thought of writing something myself. Now I don’t have to. The The Musician’s Way (aff. link) fills that gap.
Part two deals with performance issues. It begins by discussing anxiety’s effects on our bodies, and continues with, “five facets of preparation,” and issues of backstage and pre-performance routines.
What I like most about the section on performance is its practicality. In short, Mr. Klickstein is not afraid to discuss what most people consider trivial issues. Are your clothes prepared? Do you have the music? How do you start and end a piece? How do you walk out on stage? So much preparation goes into the music itself, but nothing goes into stage deportment or easy issues that, if dealt with, can help a performer be less worried and more focused.
Part three covers, “lifelong creativity.” This section is a discussion on injury prevention and how to succeed as a student. The injury prevention section deals with, among other things, an issue that musicians don’t like to talk about: hearing damage. Simply put, this section is terrifying. I’d never even thought about most of the things the book covers, but I’m certainly glad I know about them now.
The portion on succeeding as a student covers things such as the student-teacher relationship and dealing with criticism.
I’m kind of a quote junkie. That’s why I put a quote in every Monday Motivation post.
One of my favorite things about this book is the relevant quotes placed before each section.
Strength in Formatting
When I first started reading The Musician’s Way (aff. link), I was a bit put off by the numerous lists put in boxed out asides.
Over the course of the book, I realized that these were a strength. The formatting and lists allow quick reviewing, making this book a solid, easily-scanned reference.
A Formidable Duo
If you are…
- a music student
- a professional musician
- a serious (or not-so-serious) amateur musician
- anyone else, really
You owe it to yourself to read this book. The concepts found in it might seem like common knowledge, but there are is some powerful gems contained within the pages of The Musician’s Way (aff. link).
The Musician’s Way and The Savvy Musician make a formidable duo of books for any musician. Together they fill major holes in any music curriculum, and offer a wealth of knowledge collected in a few hundred pages. I can’t recommend either highly enough.
Win a Copy of The Musician’s Way!
I have a copy of The Musician’s Way to give away. To enter the competition for winning the book, please leave a comment on this post. Be sure to leave your name and an accurate email address.
After one week, I will use a random number generator to select a comment then email the comment author for shipping information.