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The Practice of Practice: How to Boost Your Music Skills Paperback – May 31, 2014
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About the Author
Jonathan Harnum is a multi-instrumentalist with over 30 years of experience practicing, playing, and performing music; he’s been a teacher for over 20 years, earned a PhD in music education from Northwestern University, and is the author of Basic Music Theory: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music; Sound the Trumpet: How to Blow Your Own Horn, and three other books. Harnum lives, plays music, writes, and teaches in Chicago and Connecticut.
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Top customer reviews
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It's a must read for anyone who is seriously pursuing learning to play a musical instrument (or voice), and worried about whether they're talented enough to master it, or frustrated by a lack of motivation to practice, or fearful of playing before an audience.
It will transform the way I practice. Many of its key recommendations are strategies I have been using over the past dozen years learning to play the mandolin, including: playing with others often at meet-ups, jams, and music camps; listening to recorded performances; watching live music; performing frequently as possible; learning from masters; and using tools like iReal pro, garage band, amazing slow-downer, band-in-a-box, and guitar pro. The book affirms that my own approaches are indeed proven and useful practice techniques, motivates me to continue exploring and finding my own way, and provides lots of valuable guidance for making my formal practice time much more effective.
I'm going to start using its strategies and approaches right now, and will often refer back to the Kindle version on my iPad for encouragement and guidance.
Jonathan draws from neuroanatomy, learning theories, experts, his own experience, giving us a wonderful collection of anecdotes, theories, approaches, techniques, and approaches to practice. Jonathan is encyclopedic, without being pedantic, informative but entertaining is his writing. If you have heard a concept or approach applied to practice, or the theory behind learning theory, Jonathan, anticipating, has included if for our education and improvement in our personal practice. There are even suggestions for “guerrilla” practice and for quick tricks. ‘
Jonathan is not a big fan of practice rooms, nor of long hours of scales and arpeggios. His suggestions vary from alternating half and full speed to get passages up to speed, to chaining and back chaining to memorize, to short burst practice sessions called guerrilla sessions, to group participation. He recommends trying out the many ideas and selecting those which work for each student. It’s a very refreshing approach to an age old problem, solving the mystery of how to get students to practice. Jonathan feels practice should be fun intriguing the student to partake.
The book is very well written and edited. The images are few but fill out the text they relate to very well. The notes are at the end of each chapter and while not huge in number are very large in interest and applicability. The extensions are onto the web and add greatly to the book. At about 250 pages, this is not a small book, but is very approachable and useful.
I recommend the book for any and all music educators and all serious students of music. In fact, I have ordered copies for my current two major mentors and my musically inclined son. I read it in e-book format, but the book is so good I have ordered a hard copy for reference.
This book does exactly that. I learned what practice is, its many components, its cognitive reason for being done. I started doing what is in the book and my progress learning the guitar just took off. I refer to it all the time when I want to improve something in my practice. When I improve that part of my practice, my progress takes off again.
To put it another way -- this book is like a stick shift transmission in a car. It makes those other learning parts work.
Earl “Buck” Hack
Get back to the inquisitive and experimental child experience. Be rewarded by not wasting your time on deflating activities.
I have spent hundreds of hours working on my instrument in a non-musical way only to be surprised by my sounding non-musical. As soon as I started to listen and learn from the music that inspired me, the theory and technical side of playing was an exciting stepping stone this end goal of actually making expressive music.
Most recent customer reviews
Love the book and the tips annd information provided in it!!!Read more