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The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  522 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In The Musician's Way, veteran performer and educator Gerald Klickstein combines the latest research with his 30 years of professional experience to provide aspiring musicians with a roadmap to artistic excellence. Part I, Artful Practice, describes strategies to interpret and memorize compositions, fuel motivation, collaborate, and more. Part II, Fearless Performance, ...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published August 6th 2009)
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Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent guide for any musician or performer. It is full of invaluable advice and secrets from professionals and teachers that are in print for the first time. The practice section is extremely helpful for scheduling, managing and improving the quality of practice. The performance section was so helpful to me in learning how to deal with nerves and I would recommend it to everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Stage fright does not need to be debilitating, and once you analyze, prepare, and keep ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, music
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, essays
Gerald Klickstein has done an incredible thing for all aspiring professional musicians: he has written a book that combines creative practice techniques with a genuine concern for artistic wellness while simultaneously shattering the myth that musicians (especially young musicians) need to spend their lives in practice rooms in order to succeed. Without indulging in platitudes, he manages to drive home the notion that the quality of practice far outweighs the quantity of practice (though the qua ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: never-finished
Yet another "how to be a musician" book. This came highly recommended and I think I would feel more "wow"ed if I hadn't already read numerous books on sports psychology which express a lot of the same ideas in a more scientific and clear light. It's always worth my time to keep reading these things though, you never know what little gems you might find. One of my favorites so far is "Ease of performance begins in the mind." Yes yes yes! So obvious yet so often overlooked. This gets a bit boring ...more
Cynthia Wood
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love this book. It gives some of the most clear and detailed instruction on performing and how to construct a practice that will lead to good, repeatable performances I've ever run into anywhere. Equally applicable to piano and voice, and should apply to other instruments as well. Good stuff! ...more
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
The “Musician’s Way” is a comprehensive manual for becoming a musician. It covers pretty much everything you need to do to become a serious musician. It is a rather dry book but as a musician I was able to cull many ideas to help improve my practice routines and performance. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming a serious musician.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are gems in the pages of The Musician's Way.

Pages upon pages of invaluable and excellent advice. The plans are clear, specific and practical.

Craig Cunningham
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Very comprehensive and includes information which may lead you to the website connected to this book.
Juan Jacobo Bernal
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I have a powerful tendency to lean on the analytical/cerebral side of me to tackle projects. I began my drumming journey 23 years ago, and I feel that said natural propensity has curtailed my experience of the more spontaneous and mysterious sides of music.

Books like Victor Wooten’s The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music worked wonders in allowing me to explore the most instinctive realms of music.

On the other hand, I found Gerald Klickstein’s book way too granular and r
Gabrielle (qaomia)
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice read, even though I was not the targeted audience. I play the piano as a hobby and not as a professional. This book goes in details on various subjects such as how to practice, how to perform without being afraid of it, how to deal with errors, or even how to choose a teacher. I think the two main takeaways for me will be :
- Whatever music I play, I must aim to express feelings from my heart and musical ideas, even if it is just scales.
- I should not be afraid of mistakes. Doing mistakes wh
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
The guide to practice was my focal point. His ideas added to my own with students. It is a handy book to keep around and check now and again his suggestions for performance and most of all wellness. Encouragement is central in any learning situation. Music for most of us is a way of nurturing. Like our care in a garden which really states maintenance, the practice of a soccer player practicing left kicks and or headers alone to be a better team player. Mr. Klickstein recognizes the importance of ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wish I would have read this book when I was an undergraduate music student - as university music students are the target audience. That being said, Mr. Klickstein delivers more than enough practical advice for any musician in this tome.

I particularly enjoyed the sections on crafting an effective practice routine. I appreciated the author's emphasis on the importance of self care and personal wellness for artists.

Recommended for musicians who continually want to enhance their craft.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book covers different aspects of what it means to be a musician. The author talks in depth about practice techniques, musical mentality, teamwork, etc. I benefit about by reading about great practice methods and musical mentality. The book makes me pay more attention on how I practice piano every day. Also, it makes me aware of my “musical inner voice” - what musical goals I communicate to myself, how I perceive my progress and accomplishments.

Great quotes:

musical progress depends more on p
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like this book's concept very much. Klickstein is analyzing many of the ancillary (and often overlooked) skills that go into being a musician, and that's unusual and welcome. But the book I want to read is not this one. The book I want to read is grounded in science as opposed to received wisdom and marshals research evidence in support of its conclusions. It's also positively framed (less a catalog of prospective pitfalls). Still waiting. ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a *large* book with a lot of fantastic information. It is aimed mostly at students but is really good compendium of all things music and will be of value to anyone no matter the levels of experience. In my case, there were a lot of great new ideas but there was also confirmation of the things I've learned on my own. It covers a lot of ground, from how to study and practice, to managing anxiety and designing a good performance, to how to detect and prevent injuries. ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
This book is changing the way I practice, the way I teach, and how I approach my music career in general.
From how to choose and practice music to dealing with performance anxiety to the importance of self care and how to avoid injury and/or burnout, this book really covers it all. I wish I'd read it 10 years ago!
I feel sure this is one I'll be referring to often and rereading in the future.
An absolutely fantastic resource for any somewhat serious musician - I highly recommend it!
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Lots of good, solid advice in this book. It focuses exactly on what it says: practice, performance, and wellness. It doesn't get into specifics, just general insights for anyone who takes the craft of music seriously enough to grow as a musician. I would have given it five stars, but the fact is it was a little dry and hard to get through. ...more
Rachel Palm
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished this book, I now plan to go through it again. What an excellent addition to my library. I wish I had read this in university. It would have saved me a lot of frustration, and given me a lot better idea of how to become the musician I want to be.
Tess Austin
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really great practice tips
Keith Wheeles
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Checklist style outline with lots of practical tips on practice and performance.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mariott
This book has very detailed advice for practicing and performing music, but it will suck the life out of you!
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The relationship of learning, practice, and mastery in the case of musicianship is explored thoroughly in "The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness." Written especially for classical and jazz instrumentalists and vocalists at the university level, the book nevertheless provides important lessons for musicians of widely diverse levels and backgrounds.

Klickstein discusses how to plan for and move through the “five practice zones”: tackling new material, refining and devel
Modern Chakra
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
A wonderful book for helping one discover and express their inner passion and talents. The author clearly understands Easter principals as well as Western demands and not only gives wonderful insight to the reader and musician but provides actual guidance tips and breathing exercises to further illustrate the point of finding your flow. These ideals, The Flow, first talked about provide the individual with a moment of harmony with their environment and their art. There is no time and the express ...more
Oct 03, 2014 rated it liked it
As a professional piano teacher, this book is an odd smattering of information new and old to me. Of the three main parts, the first, Artful Practice, didn't contain much new information or insights on how to practice but is a lovely concise summary of how to practice. The second, Fearless Performance, has more helpful insights but is oriented towards someone who intends to perform for a living. The last part, Lifelong Creativity, is focused on injury prevention and had all kinds of useful bits ...more
Christian Crowley
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The target audience for this book appears to be conservatory musicians at the start of their schooling. As such, it assumes the reader will be devoting several hours a day to music, which is more than I can budget, alas.

There is a companion website and blog with some interesting resources, and the author is very responsive. He returned my e-mail the next day with some suggestions.

Now that I've finished the book, I'm planning to go through it again. I'll start with the final section about develop
Louie van Bommel
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book professes to cover a lot of ground, and doesn't really do so, but it has several good ideas (more than most). If it weren't touting itself as the go-to book for musicians, I'd be more impressed. Like other books of the genre, I've used a few ideas from this book. I did find some sections were not very helpful and seemed like filler, written for the sake of completeness. It also seems to be most suitable for the young student (under 30) who is starting in a music school, though much of ...more
Gilbert Glenn
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just a few notes, I think the book is more intended for reference than for reading front to back. I think this has a lot of useful information for me specifically getting a degree in music. The format of the book gets old really fast so I advise to just read some sections every once in a while so you can really take in the information.
Angela McCuiston
May 25, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: business, music
His blog and newsletter contain indispensible truths related to musician's health, psychology and performance and so his book is a must-read....will get to it soon! In the meantime, am satisfied with reading his ...more
Scott Miles
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you are a musician, or aspire to be a musician, you would be doing yourself a great disservice by failing to read this book and live by the counsel Gerald Klickstein provides. "The Musician's Way" is a reference that I expect to use for years to come. ...more
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book for both professional and serious amateur musicians. It is more of a reference book than a read-through, so I'm putting it in my Read shelf. It is dense with ideas, best appreciated in small and slow doses, and bears repeated visitations. I'll be reading it for a long time! ...more
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