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The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart Paperback – February 2, 1999
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From Library Journal
Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
American Music Teacher
"An essential and brilliant book. Madeline Bruser gives us insight, wisdom, and tremendous practicality."
--Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect
"I've often thought of practice as playing--in the stretching, somersault, skipping, serenely special sense of the word--and The Art of Practicing reaffirms that. It gently and joyfully reminds us of the beautiful reasons we love music and become musicians in the first place."
--Richard Stoltzman, clarinetist
"The attitude and approach presented in this book ring true and can inspire us to open up to music with stimulated imagination and inquisitiveness and to play from the heart every time we sit down to play. I recommend this book and its ideas very highly."
--Peter Serkin, pianist
"An excellent sourcebook for musicians...logical, well thought-out, and clearly written, as well as medically tenable...thoughtful, sensitive, and very practical."
--Alice G. Brandfonbrenner, M.D., founding director Medical Program for Performing Artists, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, editor, Medical Problems of Performing Artists
"This is a book to read and read again, whether you are a performing musician or a serious listener."
The Washington Times
"Give this book to any musician you love and to any person who loves what music does for them and for the world. " --Richard Stoltzman, clarinetist
"Luminous and inspiring. "
--Paula Robison, flutist
Top Customer Reviews
The book is really keyboard-focused in spite of its claim to help all musicians. And it's not sparkling reading; it's rather slow and serious and the photos are dull. The business about a foreward by Menuhin is silly since the comments are vague, leading one to wonder whether he even read the book. So don't consider that a reason for purchase. The publisher should drop the foreward for subsequent editions.
There is a fair amount about the mechanics of playing and proper alignment. While less than riveting, that can be a useful review for those who take their technique for granted. It certainly was for me, as was the discussion of various types of bodywork that can help musicians.
Bruser's book provides an initial way to rethink the approach to the piano for the serious musician. It will help some more than others. When you think about it, the ratio of time spent practicing to time performing is about 100 to 1. Anything that enriches those hours is worth a read.
My son's violin teacher loaned me this book and I must say if I'd read it twelve years ago I never would have given up the piano. Using this book I analyzed my physical approach to playing for the first time and realized my posture was horrible and I was actually clenching my teeth when I played! Now I am enjoying myself so much more and I feel so comfortable that I have started playing as an accompanist.
There's much that's useful in this book though you may (like me) skip a lot of the technical information or parts that seem geared more toward professional musicians. I especially recommend this book for anyone with performance anxiety.
I liked the chapter on stretching and also the question and answer sections.I enjoyed alot of the stories that the author shared-one in particular on page 61 ..."Once, when the conductor Arturo Toscanini and the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky were about to go onstage to perform, one of them said to the other,"How are you feeling?" "Terrible," he answered, "because I'm no good." "I'm no good either,"the first said,"but we're no worse than the rest of them. Let's go."
The weakest parts of the book for me as a professional musician and pianist(BM and MM in Piano)were those parts dealing with specific piano repertoire, musical analysis and technique.The writing pertaining to technique and analysis is very dry, unclear, and misleading in parts.Most of that could have been left out with no harm done to the book.
There is nothing like a good teacher to make things clear, direct, and straightforward.
That aside there is much in the book that can point the way to more freedom and inspiration in practicing and playing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book help you form a life - time good practicing behavior.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love this book. I wish I'd known about these ideas hears ago when I was working so hard to improve my playing.Published 11 months ago by Anne L. Lackey
I had already read this book when I decided to purchase it. Approaching practice--like life--with gentleness and mindfulness is preferable to the tension producing alternatives! Read morePublished 16 months ago by Marilyn Haverly