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94 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on February 4, 2010 by Christopher A. Davis

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For The Casual or Novice Musician.
Much more into music theory than I thought it would be. This is written for someone who has studied music at the college or university level. Although it does have some good things to say about how to practice, most of the subject matter was way over my head.
Published 13 months ago by Gale Lewis


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94 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practice, Performance, and Wellness, February 4, 2010
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
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 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.

--Quote Junkie--

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, 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.

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.

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.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most solid book out there on music practice, April 23, 2010
This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
The Buddhas do but tell of the way; it is up to you to swelter at the task. ~Gautama Siddharta (c. 563-483 BCE)
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I've read (and re-read in many cases) most books out there on practice and this is one of the best, hands down. Klickstein is a classical guitarist who performs throughout the U.S. and internationally and is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

My favorite 2 aspects of the book are the well-chosen quotations sprinkled throughout, and the use of solid research to inform and back up what Klickstein puts forth. The bibliography is solid and well-chosen. The book is fairly comprehensive, covers the nitty gritty of practice, and includes concrete things to actually do, which mostly means strategies for excellent practice, but there are other worthy tidbits, too. The second section of the book is all about performance and the strategies you can use to include performance as another aspect of your practice. Klickstein also covers aspects of the body that are important to good practice: physical warm-ups, injury prevention, resting. The final part of the book covers injury prevention and valuable advice for the student. More specifics on each section are below.

Part I: Artful Practice (6 Chapters, 124 pages)

This section is organized to reflect Klickstein's method of organizing practice. There is basic introductory stuff like definitions, creating a great practice environment, planning and scheduling and Klickstein sets up his method, the "Five Practice Zones" (new material, developing material, performance material, technique, musicianship). Each following chapter is something of an elaboration of these zones. At the end of the first chapter is an excellent guideline for a warm-up. Included in following chapters are tips and strategies for memorization, problem-solving, interpretation, skill maintenance, mental imagery, motivation, and evaluation. The final chapter of Part I deals with collaboration which for Klickstein means playing in ensembles.

Part II: Fearless Performance (5 Chapters, 70 pages)

Everything you might expect is in this section, from preperformance routines to developing stage presence, to dealing with nerves, performance glitches and how to deal with them and concert design. Again, to help you organize your thoughts about this important aspect of music-making, Klickstein reveals his 5 facets of performance: artistic, technical, mental/emotional, physical, and organizational. He includes some helpful information about highly stressful performances such as auditions and competitions, too.

Part III: Lifelong Creativity (3 Chapters, 80 pages)

The first two chapters of this part deal with injury prevention, something important to consider when we're repeating actions over and over for long periods of time. Repetitive stress injuries are common among instrumentalists and Klickstein introduces us to ways to prevent these through posture, good planning and hearing protection. The most valuable chapter in this section however, in my opinion, is the final one, titled Succeeding as a Student. It's filled with excellent advice for students of any age or level and includes strategies for choosing teachers, dealing with fair and unfair criticism, building community and good advice to general approaches to being a musician.

It's difficult to find any fault in the book, and I think anyone will discover much that is valuable within its pages. My only criticism is that it's approach is solidly centered in the Western Art Music tradition and all that entails. Thankfully, solid practice advice transfers to any type of music, but if you're interested in playing punk rock, or perhaps using the computer as an instrument, many of the musical examples won't help you much. That relates to another (very minor) criticism: the musical notation examples are fairly sophisticated and require good note-reading skills. This isn't really a criticism, as Klickstein's intended audience is quite clearly well-trained classical musicians, but for those less able to read music, this might be a stumbling block. A final shortfall for me was the lack of discussion of other tools to help with practice, things such as metronomes, software, and web resources.

As a whole, this is a most excellent book to add to your collection if you're interested in practicing more efficiently. Very highly recommended.

Have fun, and good luck with your practice.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and thorough, February 1, 2010
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
The Musician's Way is an immensely useful book. Gerald Klickstein covers just about every aspect of musicianship imaginable in a concise and thorough way, very much in the holistic manner of his guitar teaching. The book is geared particularly toward young musicians in music school, but can be useful for anyone who wants to improve as a musician. There are specific instructions and suggestions that make the challenges of being a musician much easier to conquer because there's a clear plan. If you have any questions about the book or something not covered in the book, you can go to the website. Kudos and thanks to Mr. K for his dedication and enthusiasm!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for anybody serious about music, November 18, 2010
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
The Musician's Way is definitely the book that any young (or older) musician should read. Extremely informative, full of suggestions and practical advices in all the aspects of music making. I teach a program in Performance Skills and Perspectives at the Music Dep. of the University of Malta (Europe) and I use this book as one of the resources for the course.
Personally, I would have preferred a bit warmer style of writing. At times it feels like you are reading an essay on brain surgery more than an inspirational book on creativity, but this does not take anything away from the its value.

Thank you Mr. Klickstein! I look forward to your next book. :-)
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for aspiring musicians, teachers, and performers, September 15, 2009
This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
Klickstein's Musician's Way is the most comprehensive guide for musicians of all ages and all stages. Guiding the reader through a wide range of subjects - practicing one's instrument and all the aspects this entails, injury prevention and ear protection, performance coaching before/during/after the spotlight, balancing the mind-body-spirit in the life of a musician, memorization, and much more - he manages to pull it all together with clarity and cohesiveness. Although Klickstein is demanding in his suggested course of action in this career, his writing is upbeat and encouraging. His endless curiosity and love for every aspect of this profession shines through, inspiring readers of any field. The moral of the story? If you truly love what you do, you will be the greatest of teachers and find happiness every day of your life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make Practice Perfect, January 10, 2012
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
A couple weeks ago, I was discussing with my teacher Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success and his belief in 10,000 hours of practice with something is the magic number to hit for mastery in proficiency. This lead to the observation that we both know people who have practiced a lot, but still, to put it in simplest terms, still suck.

She suggested that I read Musician's Way, and I cannot be more ecstatic by how this book helped me understand practice. I'm an intermediate level violist who has returned to playing after a hiatus. I had no idea about practice and just went in auto-pilot: no major thought, no concentration, and no plan.

This book really points out what practice is suppose to accomplish and how to go about doing that. After reading it, I realized that I wasn't thinking big picture a lot of the time while practicing, I was just trying to get it done - errors and all. A big example of this was the section on how to work on "New Music." It showed the concepts of mapping out songs, working on getting to know it deeply without picking up an instrument, and most of all, avoiding errors that become ingrained.

Since I've incorporated suggestions from this book, my practices have been more satisfying, I've shown better improvement and I have a better idea of what I'm trying to accomplish.

I would not hesitate to suggest this book to other intermediate players of any instrument. This book hit me at the right time; my old practice techniques weren't working on harder material, but I had grown use to practicing every day. It might be too much for a beginner to start out with and probably too boring for an advanced player.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best music technique book I've ever read, September 26, 2010
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
This book is an incredible find! It was required reading for my advanced vocal technique class, but I have kept it for more than just that. This book is an extremely valuable source of friendly reminders on how to practice, rest, and perform in an efficient, healthy, and easy way.
This book covers everything from the basics that we've all heard before (about shaping melodic phrases and reading ahead) to advanced instrument-specific advice that is unparalleled in its straight-forward approach and practicality.
5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable read for every aspiring musician, July 17, 2011
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
A wealth of invaluable experience and advice on musicianship, practice, performance and taking care of yourself! Klickstein's book is easy to read, comprehensive and filled with lots of really useful tips and exercises. This book is a must-read for every serious music student and aspiring musician and will pay for itself many times over.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading - Absolutely helpful advice and information, August 9, 2010
By 
David Hodge (Berkshire County, Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
"The Musician's Way - A Guide to Practice, Performance and Wellness," steps up to help guide the musician to make the most of his or her practice in order to be the best possible performer.

The book is wonderfully thought-out and organized. As with most books of this nature, you can read it from cover to cover (and you will!) and take in more information and ideas than you might think possible (and you will!) but you will also find it a book to keep around and to constantly refer back to as you develop as a musician. Moreover, the concept that Mr. Klickstein sets forth can apply to so much of your life, you'll find yourself using his ideas for a lot more than just practicing and performing music.

The third chapter ("Practicing Deeply, II") alone is worth about five times the cost of the book itself!

Whether he is outlining how to draw up a personal practice plan, discussing the roots of stage freight, or cautioning on playing position, you feel that he truly both wants you to succeed as a musician and believes that you can. Using research and study as well as personal anecdotes, he serves as your willing guide through the tangled mess one can easily make of one's practice and performing habits. He brings you to a place where you can be your best, but (even more importantly) he also demonstrates how to achieve your best on those occasions you don't have your best with you.

While Mr. Klickstein is a renowned classical guitarist, "The Musician's Way" is a book that will benefit any musician. He touches on aspects of all performers, from guitarists to violinists to drummers to vocalists, and has plenty of tips for everyone.

Regardless of what instrument you play or how long you've been playing or what level of musician you consider yourself to be, you will find a tremendous amount of beneficial material in this book. I can't recommend it enough. Please feel free to read my full review at the Guitar Noise website ([...]).

Peace
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I needed, March 11, 2014
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This review is from: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Paperback)
First of all, let me say this book is good. The content is very good for aspiring musicians. The issue for me was that it is NOT a good book if you do not play any classical music. This is really a book for any classical musician (or singer) and is geared towards an intermediate to professional performer. This book assumes you are already performing in recitals or concert shows. This will disappoint you if you are a) beginning your journey and/or b) practicing rock, folk, country, reggae or even light jazz guitar. The one great point I learned from it is to schedule my practice time and structure it so that I am not scattered, i.e, chords, scales, arpeggios, songs, notation, theory, etc. This small bit of advice (the Cliff notes version) has helped keep me focused and on track. Other than that, this is not for guitarists who are not classically trained or training.
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The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness
The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness by Gerald Klickstein (Paperback - September 3, 2009)
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