The Balanced Musician
Integrating Mind and Body for Peak Performance
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For musicians to attain the level of peak performance that they know is within their reach, they need to do more than spend time in the practice room. The most accomplished and healthiest musicians lead a balanced and satisfying life in which they place equal emphasis on three areas of musicianship: physical technique (body); analysis and knowledge (mind); and musicianship and creativity (soul). By integrating all of the parts of this triangle, you can learn to communicate creatively and with seeming effortlessness during performance. Organized into four main parts, this book first explores the mind-body connection and then separately discusses the mind, body, and soul of musicians, scholars, performers, and teachers of all voices and instruments.
By delving into research literature in both sport psychology and music, you will learn to use mental rehearsal and imagery away from your instrument and deliberate practice at your instrument. You will also learn such relaxation techniques as meditation, centering, stretching, and deep breathing. Drawing on findings from scientific studies, particularly in the area of sports medicine, McAllister offers practical tools for your practice, performances, and daily routine. By learning these techniques, you will also find enhanced confidence, concentration, endurance, and control over your own music-making.
With terms, questions for reflection, and assignments at the end of each chapter, this book may be used as a textbook for a course or as a supplement to music lessons. Both novice and experienced performers alike will learn ways to meet career demands and reach their full potential. Appendixes at the end of the book contain worksheets, scripts, questionnaires, self-evaluation forms, and journal entries that help you to individualize your work. Every musician who spends countless hours practicing deserves to learn these techniques, which will forever change the way you approach both practice and performance.
- Scarecrow Press, November 2012
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