The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart

( 4 )

Overview

This landmark book enlightens amateur and professional musicians about a way of practicing that transforms a sometimes frustrating, monotonous, and overly strenuous labor into an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Acclaimed pianist and teacher Madeline Bruser combines physiological and meditative principles to help musicians release physical and mental tension and unleash their innate musical talent. She offers practical techniques for cultivating free and natural movement, a keen enjoyment of sounds and ...

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The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart

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Overview

This landmark book enlightens amateur and professional musicians about a way of practicing that transforms a sometimes frustrating, monotonous, and overly strenuous labor into an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Acclaimed pianist and teacher Madeline Bruser combines physiological and meditative principles to help musicians release physical and mental tension and unleash their innate musical talent. She offers practical techniques for cultivating free and natural movement, a keen enjoyment of sounds and sensations, a clear and relaxed mind, and an open heart and she explains how to

Prepare the body and mind to practice with ease
Understand the effect of posture on flexibility and expressiveness
Make efficient use of the hands and arms
Employ listening techniques to improve coordination
Increase the range of color and dynamics by using less effort
Cultivate rhythmic vitality
Perform with confidence, warmth, and freedom

Photographs show essential points of posture and movement for a variety of instruments.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Madeline Bruser has put together a valuable and insightful look at the art of practicing. If more people read this this book, perhaps we might see an increase in the number of inspired and joyful music makers who, rather than viewing practice as a punitive activity, regard it as the supreme opportunity to explore their own creativity."
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

Library Journal
In an attempt to address the basic aspects of practicing and interpreting, this book includes both the physical and the spiritual. Instructions are given for stretching exercises to relax and flex the body and for meditation to prepare the mind, often addressing both physical and interpretive problems through a combination of both approaches. The bulk of the instructions are for pianists; here the author feels confident and speaks in her own voice. For other instruments and voice she relies, unquestioningly, on the opinions of others. The format is straightforward instruction combined with the somewhat stilted Socratic question-and-answer approach. For larger collections.-Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto
From Barnes & Noble
With a unique combination of physiological and meditative principles, this landmark book will help you release physical and mental tension and unleash your innate musical talent--no matter what instrument you play. Proven techniques help you maximize the effect of posture on flexibility and expressiveness, use listening to improve coordination, increase the range of color and dynamics with lesseffort, cultivate rhythmic vitality, and more. 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609801772
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 338,700
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Madeline Bruser lectures widely on the Art of Practicing and teaches privately in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 1
1 Meeting Yourself 7
2 Struggle and Freedom 10
3 Stretching 29
4 Settling In 44
5 Tuning into Your Heart 54
6 Basic Mechanics 63
7 The Spark of Inquisitiveness 137
8 Three Styles of Struggle 151
9 Simplicity 160
10 Pure Perception 166
11 Spontaneous Insight 178
12 The Dancing Body 198
13 Playing by Heart 213
14 Generosity 226
Epilogue 249
Notes 251
Recommended Reading 253
Resources for Musicians 255
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2002

    An incredible Book

    For anyone who has ever come across any problem in music, this is a great book to read. Since all musicians face problems, this book enhances musical abilities, techniques, and other music-related things. Ms. Bruser appears to be a kind-hearted, caring, and a detrimental part of musical society. She provides hope for everyone. I more than strongly recommend this incredible book. Her E-mail address is available at the end of the book. I thanked her for her contribution to my life!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2001

    This book changed my life as a musician

    After earning a master's degree in piano performance from a major conservatory, I struggled for years with debilitating performance anxiety and frustration, to the point where I changed careers and moved into the corporate world for 15 years. The practice techniques and disciplines which Madeline Bruser so clearly describes in this book enabled me to recapture my earlier love and enthusiasm for music and performing, and have put me on a path toward 'playing from the heart,' which has led me among other things to a decision to return to teaching and performing again as a career. This book is written in a simple and straightforward style. The author is not dogmatic about her ideas, but rather, deals with the physical and emotional aspects of playing music at a basic and fundamental level. Ms. Bruser's own credentials as a pianist and teacher are impressive. The research she cites -- interviews and collaboration with numerous professional musicians and teachers, experts in posture and movement (Alexander, Feldenkreis), and medical professionals, are partly what attracted me to this book, as did the praise for this book from musicians such as Peter Serkin, Yehudi Menuhin, and Richard Stolzman -- all impeccable sources in my opinion. When I first found this book, I couldn't put it down. I felt like I had found an oasis from my musical struggles, and hope for resolving them. If you are a musician, former musician, or aspiring musician, this book will be a source of encouragement and creative ideas. I highly recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Powerful, comprehensive, and extremely useful.

    Unfortunately, I picked up this book after the storm of college auditions passed.
    This book has really helped me understand exactly why I want to be a musician, other than "Oh, I just really like music". Bruser has really opened my eyes to how enjoyable practicing can be and how a performance is much, much, MUCH more than playing in front of a group of people. I made copious notes and highlighted especially powerful statements. I was especially moved by the last chapter on generosity; it reminded me why I do what I do.
    Bruser also includes a wonderful list of resources related to her book for musicians- amateurs and professionals.

    After reading this book, I can only imagine where I would be in my musical intellect had I picked it up much earlier.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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