Annotated bibliography on musician wellness.
This year's bibliography contains some of the latest books related to wellness issues for musicians, The full bibliography can be found on MTNA's website at www.mma.org, under the "Resources and Services" drop-down menu.
The format of the bibliography is as follows:
General information included: Author, date of publication, title, publisher, publisher's address, phone and/or fax if available, e-mail and website information if available, number of pages and ISBN number.
Specific information included: A brief description of the content of the book, journal, website or video, the intended audience (addressing value for the instrumentalist, keyboardist and/or vocalist), the authors' approach and specific techniques (such as physiological and psychological, when relevant), and general research information and bibliography and/or end notes, if included in the book. A general viewer evaluation is also included. Topics include prevention of medical problems, meditation, performance anxiety, performance preparation, learning theories, and physiological and psychological issues related to musicianship.
Andrews, Elizabeth. (1997) Healthy Practice for Musicians. Rhinegold Publishing Ltd; 241 Shaftesbury Ave., London WC2H 8EH, Great Britain; phone: 0171 333 1721; fax: 0171 333 1769. 421 pp. ISBN: 0-946890-73-0.
This book is mainly targeted to instrumental musicians, particularly string players. It is a self-help manual that gives a comprehensive view of practicing and includes both the physiological and psychological aspects of playing.
There are 15 chapters in the manual. Chapter 1 serves as an "Introduction" and discusses the purpose of the text. Chapters 2 and 3, "Musicians Versus Instrument I and II," examine such things as physique, how one grows, and the physical relationship to one's instrument, muscles and joints, skin problems, calluses and varicosity. Chapter 4, "Above the Shoulders," is about the eyes, ears, neck, teeth and the jaw, nutrition, dyslexia and tinnitus. Various treatments for related problems are briefly mentioned.
Chapter 5, "Musicians Versus Environment," reviews the basic things musicians deal with in their practice and performing spaces including topics such as jet-lag. Chapter 6, "Food Matters," examines diet, weight, vitamins, minerals, digestion, cholesterol, food allergies and more.
Chapters 7 and 8, "Musicians Versus Emotions I and II," are about the psychological aspect of practicing and performing. These chapters examine such issues as stage fright, psychosomatic aches and pains, self-talk, criticism, visualization and so forth.
The remaining chapters deal with the muscles used when playing an instrument. Chapter 9, "The Physical Nitty-Gritty," discusses the physiological aspects of playing an instrument. The arms, fingers, muscle-tone and tension, balance, ligaments and antagonistic muscles are examined. Specific physical conditions and other common disorders such as nerve impingement and arthritis are examined, as well as the sciatic nerve.
Chapter 10, "Testing What's Wrong," is a discussion about muscle testing and assessment. In Chapter 11, "Muscles of the Face, Neck and Jaw," are examined. In Chapter 12, "Muscles of the Shoulder, Upper Arm and Elbow," and in Chapter 13, "Muscles of the Forearm, Wrist and Hand," some of the most important muscles directly involved in playing an instrument are carefully reviewed with discussion on their use and the prevention of problems. Chapter 14, "Muscles of the Abdomen, Back and Other Postural Muscles," examines the most important ones that are relevant to musicians. Chapter 15, "More Useful Techniques," is a final chapter that gives some practical advice about a variety of situations that can occur with practicing and performing musicians.
Many chapters end with a chapter summary, as well as a list of organizations relevant to the topics examined. A list of references is included at the end of each chapter. Audience: all instrumentalists
Andrews, Elizabeth. (2005) Muscle Management for Musicians. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., subsidiary of The Rowan and Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 4501 Forbes Blvd., Ste. 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706; phone: (800) 464-6420; fax: (717) 794-3803. www.scarecrowpress.com. 292 pp. ISBN: 0-8108-5134-2.
Elizabeth Andrews states in the preface of Muscle Management for Musicians, that it is a follow-up, as well as an update to her previous book, Healthy Practice for Musicians. The purpose of Muscle Management for Musicians is to introduce musicians to applied kinesiology so they can improve overall performance and prevent injuries.
Andrews's goal is to provide a basic resource for musicians to research the muscles they use while playing an instrument. The information is presented in a safe, self-help format. Andrews integrates some Alexander Technique with sections about circulatory aspects, equilibrium, voluntary and involuntary nerve pathways, fine motor control, reflexes and breathing. In Andrews's discussion about musicians' injuries, she explains common injuries among particular instrumentalists and examines musicians and their instruments, environments and selves. She reviews how musicians can become ill and how body conditions create mental conditions. Andrews, a freelance instrumentalist, is also a chiropractor who specializes in musicians' injuries.
There are 11 chapters in this text. Chapter 1, "How to Use this Book" and Chapter 2, "Growth and Development," examine the basic functions of the body's support system, such as the nervous system, breathing, posture, joints, muscles and what can go wrong. Chapter 3, "Best Practice," is about the purpose of warming up before practicing.
Chapter 4, "Testing What's Wrong," is about testing and assessing muscles and how musicians should manage their muscles. Chapter 5, the Head," examines how muscles of the eyes, ears, face, cheek, jaw and neck are tested. Chapter 6, "Muscles of the Shoulder, Upper Arm, and Elbow"; Chapter 7, "Muscles of the Forearm, Wrist, and Hand"; "Chapter 8, "Muscles of the Torso, Abdomen, and Back and Other Postural Muscles"; and Chapter 9, "Muscles of the Pelvis, Thigh, Calf, and Foot," all examine the muscles in these areas and how instrumentalists use them.
Chapter 10, "Emotions and Muscles," is about stage fright and what happens to the muscles when performing. Chapter 11, "More Useful Techniques," is a chapter about emergency situations, the use of massage and different types of medical problems or conditions musicians can have.
This is an excellent book with clear diagrams and basic information that is easy to understand. Each chapter ends with a bibliography that is relevant to the information discussed in that chapter.
Audience: all instrumentalists
Craze, Richard. (2001) Teach Yourself Alexander Technique. McGraw Hill Publishers, P.O. Box 545, Blacklick, OH 43004-0545; phone: (800) 722-4726; fax: (614) 755-5645. 166 pp. ISBN: 0-658-02138-9.
This self-help manual is about re-educating your body through realigning the spine, which gives relief from pain and stress so that one has an enhanced sense of wellbeing. The book contains a history about the Alexander Technique, a series of practical exercises and procedures, and examines ways one can benefit from using this method to re-educate the body.
There are eight chapters in this book. Chapter 1, "A History of the Alexander Technique," traces the early history of the Technique and explores how it is utilized today. Chapter 2, "What is the Alexander Technique," summarizes the fundamental ideas of the Technique. Chapter 3, "What's It For?", explains the flight/fight response--how the body reacts to stress and how to let go of excessive tension; the internal sensors, the two types of muscles (voluntary and involuntary), the two systems of nerves in muscles and the two systems of muscle nerves, and how one develops bad habits when you have poor body alignment.
Chapter 4, "Who Can Benefit From It?", explains and discusses why and who can learn the Alexander Technique, type A verses type B personalities, and how the Alexander Technique can help both personalities. Chapter 5, "How is it Done with Guidance?", reviews how the Technique is done, what lessons are like and the cost for a teacher. Chapter 6, "How to Do it For Yourself," explains how to re-educate and improve the use of one's body so the mind and body are harmonized. In this chapter, learning to correctly move joint and muscles is discussed. Efficient alignment is also reviewed. Chapter 7, "Practical Applications," contains a chart to fill in and analyze one's alignment. Chapter 8, "The Body Explained," looks at the anatomy of the human body and how it works well when it's aligned according to its design principles. An extended bibliography is included, as well as an international list of Alexander Technique societies and a list of websites. A chapter summary and checklist concludes the manual.
Audience: all musicians
Heirich, Jane Ruby. (2005) Voice and the Alexander Technique: Active Explorations for Speaking and Singing. Mornum Time Press, 2560 9th St., Studio 123A, Berkeley, CA 94710. www.mtpress.com. 171 pp. ISBN- 0-9644352-5-X.
Voice and the Alexander Technique is a text designed to help both students and teachers understand the common problem areas in the study and use of the voice: breath management, voice projection, resonance building, singing high notes, "break" in the vocal range, excess muscle tension in the wrong places and the relevance of overall poise to vocal output. As Jane Ruby Heirich points out, this is a unique guide that links sound and movement. It is an "active-participation" book, not a passive read. Some of the skills one can develop via this book include changing the way one thinks, moves and vocalizes so that, ultimately, you can find a free and expressive voice.
There are nine chapters. Chapter 1, "We Are All Creatures of Habit," is about vocal habits. Here, Heirich explains the basic characteristics of habits and how to work on changing them.
Chapter 2, "Frederick Matthias Alexander and his Discoveries," explains the Alexander Technique, principles specific skills one learns through studying the Technique and the voice. The chapter ends with what should be included in an Alexander lesson and the type of assignments given. Chapter 3, "A Voice Primer," is intended to help people who are not confident about their singing or speaking voices. Heirich reviews how to learn to release the lower jaw, how to dome the soft palate and the muscular arches, to "open" the throat, shaping vowels and articulating consonants, breath and support, adjusting vocal folds for frequency of pitch, and how to learn to produce a louder sealing and singing voice.
Chapter 4, "Postural and Vocal Problems," is about vocal issues related to either not using enough muscular effort, such as postural slump, or vocal issues related to exerting too much effort, such as over-arching backs, stiffening the neck and throat, kneelocking, the use of the rib cage, use of the facial muscles or Temporomandibuar joint problems. Finding the appropriate use of the right muscles is examined. The misconceptions that interfere with natural breathing conclude this chapter.
Between Chapters 4 and 5 is an interlude chapter that reviews the voice and the Alexander connection and recapitulates Heirich's intentions in the first section of the book, while foreshadowing the next four chapters, which discuss how one can learn to apply the principles of posture and movement via activities that will help one's singing and speaking voice.
Chapter 5, "Games and Explorations I: Re-education of the Breathing System," explores activities used in the Alexander approach, such as lying down exercises, whispering versus phonation or hissing, the benefits of practicing the whispered procedure, the Alexander breath-training tool and tips to help avoid over-preparation. Chapter 6, "Games and Explorations II: "Thinking Up for a Change," addresses four factors and challenges in changing one's learning process, how to think "up" and games for practicing "thinking up," while moving. Chapter 7, "Games and Explorations III: Monkeying Around with the Voice," is about a position or posture referred to as the "monkey" in which all the parts are in dynamic balance, thus being at a mechanical advantage to the singer. Chapter 8, "Games and Explorations IV: Supporting the Voice," is about breath support and gives the reader some activities incorporating the Alexander Technique for the purpose of obtaining better breath support.
Chapter 9, "Our Journey," serves as the concluding chapter. The text ends with four appendices: Appendix I--International Phonetic Alphabet, with consonant formation guidelines; Appendix II--Hands on the back of the chair: A "position of mechanical advantage" for re-educating the breathing mechanism; Appendix III--Contact Information; and Appendix I--Notation, pitch names and frequency correlation chart. The text layout is extremely clear and organized with marked sections in each chapter. There are many useful diagrams throughout the book and summary points where appropriate. This text includes a glossary and bibliography. A CD of 13 exercises with explanations accompanies the book.
Johnston, Philip. (2002) The Practice Revolution: Getting Great Results from the Six Days Between Music Lessons. PracticeSpot Press, 52 Pethebridge St., Pearce, ACT 2607, Australia. 323 pp. ISBN: 0-9581905-0-X.
This book is about how students of all ages can learn how to teach themselves for six days a week. Philip Johnston views practicing from how a student practices, rather than how long they practice. Johnston's goal is to teach teachers how to become practice experts so they, in turn, can teach their students how to become practice experts. His premise: you really cannot teach a student how to play until you teach them how to practice.
The text is divided into 17 chapters. The first two chapters are about how to shape a student's practice week, being specific about directions, giving ownership over instructions and involving parents in the process.
Chapter 3, "Common Practice Flaws," is about selecting the right task for the right flaw, and how to tell if a student is practicing the wrong way. It has many subsections with interesting tides such as "Chopping Wood with a Spoon"; "Shiny Object Polishers"; "Sheep Counters"; "Speed Demons"; "Gluttons"; "Drifters"; "Skimmers"; "Clock-watchers"; "Autopilots"; "Pattern Practicers; "Red Light Runners" and so forth.
Chapter 4, "Why Students Don't Practice," deals with time management, reading problems and impossible workloads. Lack of parental help, as well as parental interference, is looked at. Chapter 5, "Using the Right Tools for the Right Job," is an introductory chapter to Chapter 6, "Learning the New Piece," which describes how to define the task and the challenges of learning a new piece.
Chapter 7, "Making the Piece Reliable," focuses on defining the task, the miserable beginning stages of learning a new piece, how we play games with ourselves while learning a new piece and so forth. Chapter 8, "Memorizing It," explains the basic mechanics of memorizing a piece of music but also acknowledges that students memorize in different ways. Different memory techniques are examined in this chapter. Chapter 9, "The Practice Revolution," discusses speeding up a piece of music, using the metronome and rhythmic distortions.
Chapter 10, "Taming Tricky Bits," looks at defining the task at hand, taking practice breaks and so on. Chapter 11, "Making the Piece Their Own," is about interpretation and trying to get the best musicality out of a student. Chapter 12, "Preparing for Performance" and Chapter 13, "Project Management," give pointers on how to prepare for a specific performance.
Chapter 14, "Your Student's Notebook," focuses on preparing lesson summaries that really help, writing down practice instructions, rating practices and how students can write practice plans in their notebook. Online lesson summaries are included at www.practicepage.com
Chapter 15, "The Role of Parents," Chapter 16, "Towards Independence" and Chapter 17, "Where to Get More Help," give practical advice to students, teachers and parents.
Johnston is a classical pianist and also the author of The PracticeSpot Guide to Promoting your Teaching Studio, Not Until You've Done Your Practice! and The Practice Revolution Practice Planner.
Audience: all musicians and teachers
Kaplan, Burton. (2004) Practicing for Artistic Success: The Musician's Guide to Self-Empowerment. Perception Development Techniques, 415 West Hill Rd., Morris, NY 13808. www.magicmountainmusic.org. 105 pp. ISBN: 0-918316-05-7.
Practicing for Artistic Success: A Musician's Guide to Self-Empowerment is about the art of good practicing and is addressed to all instrumentalists. This manual is divided into two parts with 15 chapters.
Part 1, "How to Get More for Your Efforts," is about how to learn the skill of practicing, how to develop practice strategies and how the human brain and mind function in this process, while Part 2, "Practice Strategies for all Instrumentalists," discusses how to increase one's technical and musical control, thus practicing for performance success.
Part 1 contains seven chapters. Chapter 1, "What Counts as Practice?", is about learning both new and old repertoire, refining previously learned skills, practicing for maintenance, warming up before practicing and getting back into shape after taking a break from practice. The chapter ends with a section on purposeful listening as part of practice, reading books that can help care for one's body and mind in the practice room and how to plan tomorrow's practice.
Chapter 2, "Using the Book to Guide Your Practice," serves as an introductory chapter and explains how to use this book and find a solution to a specific practice problem. Chapter 3, "The Six Myths of Instrumental Music Practice: Evaluation and Update," discusses common and basic issues, such as practicing versus rest periods, slow practice, repetition, metronome use and isolating parts. The chapter's purpose is to teach one how to evaluate and update oneself so that a musician can practice more efficiently and be more compact in body and mind while practicing, thus saving time while practicing.
Chapter 4, "The Third Hand: The Source of Control," focuses on coordination and the instrumentalist and examines being in touch with one's own individual artistic impulses while simultaneously developing the ability to self-coach. Author Burton Kaplan believes that learning to self-coach is the most effective tool one can develop as an artistic musician--whether amateur or professional.
Chapter 5, "The Basic Work Process," tells one how to diagnose and prioritize problems. Setting goals, dividing up practice problems and improving one's concentration are also reviewed. Chapter 6, "Patience and Attention: Two Practice Traps," looks at the paradoxes of inattention and concentration. Chapter 7, "Managing Your Daily Practice," reviews a three-day practice organizer and gives strategies for better managing one's practice time.
Part 2 begins with Chapter 8, "Imaging: The Strategy of Strategies," which examines visualization, much like athletes do when they train. It is about creating the image of playing away from one's instrument, the ultimate use of what Kaplan calls the "third hand." Here, the author examines the mental role of coordination away from one's instrument. Chapter 9, "Strategies for Most Occasions,'" describes a set of generic categories for the use of all instrumentalists: simplification, isolation/integration, modeling, inhibition, comparison and basic metronome strategy. Chapter 10, "The Click Track Strategy: A New Way to Use the Metronome," is about strengthening the internal beat by using what Kaplan calls the "click track strategy," a method of using the metronome in a slightly different way.
Chapter 11, "The Rhythms Strategy and Super Learning: A Systematic Way to Increase Your Control at Fast Tempos," teaches one to play quickly at an advanced level with many intricate note patterns that are played with good coordination. Kaplan gives pointers about how to practice different patterns and passages for better control and coordination. Chapter 12, "Strategies for Improving Intonation," focuses on how to improve intonation and how to develop pitch sensitivity and control. Chapter 13, "Increasing Control at Fast Tempos: The Add-a-Note and Add-a-Group Strategies," discusses working on fast, improvisatory, scale-like passages that require brilliant playing and how best to play them. Chapter 14, "Strategies for Memorizing Music," is about learning to memorize versus playing by heart. Kaplan uses a strategy in teaching students to memorize called the "vanishing technique," in which he sections off the piece beginning at the end of the piece and then works back to the beginning. Chapter 15, "Further Reflections on Self-Empowerment and Practicing," acts as a summary chapter in which Kaplan encourages musicians to experiment while they are practicing and be creative in the interpretation to gain technical control.
The text is addressed to all instrumentalists and clearly written with easy-to-follow examples. Each chapter has multiple sections, and the text does not have to be read from beginning to end. It is a spiral-bound manual, so it is easy to write one's own comments.
Kaplan is also the author of The Musician's Practice Log, A Rhythm Sight-Reader, Volumes 1 and 2 and A Basic Skills Pitch Sight-Reader. A list of books related to music practice and a bibliography are included at the end of the manual. Charts for organizing one's practice and measuring goals are also included at the end of the manual.
Ramsay, Nicky and Janet Free. (2004) Holistic Bodywork for Performers: A Practical Guide. The Crowood Press Ltd., Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2HR www.crowood.com. 160 pp. ISBN: 1 86126 699 5.
This book shares holistic body practices and shows how they can stimulate the creative process in the theater and in other performing arts. Through specific learning techniques, one can develop an open body that can articulate without tension. The authors examine the threefold experience of melting, discovering and transforming, which gives one a holistic body in performance. Each chapter is organized around a central concern of the performing body and the chapters give suggestions for experimenting with bodywork practices.
The book gives hands-on practical guidance that incorporates the following practices: yoga, tai chi, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and contact improvisation, as well as shiatsu and reflexology. The main goal of the book is understanding the body's natural balancing and energy systems.
There are seven chapters in this book. Chapter 1, "Melting the Body's Seal," explains the difference between an adult's body and a child's body. The authors describe how to break the body's seal by melting tension via a mind/body approach. Kinesthetic body awareness exercises, which require two people, are also detailed. Alexander Technique and yoga are incorporated into the exercises.
Chapter 2, "The Innocent Body," examines what we lose of the innocent child body when we become adults. The Alexander Technique is looked at in more detail and explores ways one can get back to "innocent responsiveness." Feldenkrais's ideas are also introduced. The neutral body and actors are looked at, the Feldenkrais method involving a group lesson known as "Awareness Through Movement" is explained and Feldenkrais's thoughts about the body are compared to those of Alexander. Both Alexander and Feldenkrais's practices reteaches the body and mind to experience familiar actions in ways that the body forgets as an adult.
Chapter 3, "Yin and Yang," explores yin and yang, tai chi, Chinese stick work and shiatsu. The differences between the philosophies of the East and the West are reviewed. How the eastern philosophies of doing and being tend to complement each other, more than western thinking philosophies do, are also discussed. Other topics covered include developing an appreciation for the performer's predisposition and how to reshape it to fit a particular role or performance, on-stage interaction and the roles of the director or conductor and the audience.
Chapter 4, "Dividing Energy Sources," is about physical reserves, suppleness, stamina and balance, mental resources and resilience, the rigors of rehearsal and performance, focus, and the dialogue between the body and mind.
Chapter 5, "Disorientation," examines a variety of activities that take us off balance with our eyes so we are forced to respond in more instinctive ways. The purpose of these activities is to build trust and spontaneity and inner spaces so we learn to cope with the unexpected and control the normal fight/flight syndrome of fear when something does not go as rehearsed. The chapter title, "Disorientation," is aptly suited because it is about adapting to changes occurring underfoot by staying grounded.
Chapter 6, "Grounding," takes one through various ground exercises drawn from yoga and other bodywork practices, including reflexology. Using the fairytale, The Red Shoes, the authors explore how to use one's own feelings to stay grounded and claim one's own creative identity to be fully connected to one's instinctive self. Thus, we as performers can completely know ourselves.
The final chapter, "The Breath," draws together the practices explained in the previous sections of the book and focuses on the crucial role of breathing in connecting the physical and the metaphysical. How to develop a sense of breathing awareness other than in fearful or angry situations is looked at. The way breathing is connected to our emotions in the body/mind relationship and how it is a valuable source of body memory during performance is also discussed. The purpose of this chapter is to help the reader cultivate effective breathing during performance. Different types of breathing techniques are examined. Posture, meditation and other mindset techniques are encouraged.
This is a very unique book because it integrates so many different philosophies and techniques connected with bodywork. It is an easy-to-read, clearly written book with easy-to-follow diagrams. A glossary and bibliography are included. There is also a section titled "Useful Contacts for Teachers and Classes." Most chapters end with a section titled "Recap."
Audience: performing actors and singers
Richmond, Don. (2004) Getting Your Music Past the Fear. BookSurge, LLC; phone: (866) 308-6235. www.booksurge.com. 198 pp. ISBN: 1-59457-649-1.
This book is divided into two sections: Section 1, "Text and Discussion," is about the concepts involved in making music and getting it out into the world. There are five chapters about the following topics: the music, the self, the relationship between the musician and the audience, the world and the path.
Section 2 is more experimental and consists mainly of exercises. This Section looks at the tools needed to overcome stage fright--the emergency tool kit for stage fright--general purpose exercises, rehearsal, performance, recording, songwriting and business exercises and path exercises.
An extended annotated bibliography is included at the end.
Audience: all performing musicians
Sell, Karen. (2005) The Disciplines of Vocal Pedagogy: Towards an Holistic Approach. Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Gower House, Croft Rd., Aldershot, Hants GU 11 3HR England. www.ashgate.com. 253 pp. ISBN: 0-7546-5169-X.
Author Karen Sell specifically states in the book's introduction that her goal is to educate, rather than train the singer. Therefore, the understanding of good singing technique and vocal pedagogical practice is the main focus of the text. As stated in the title, Sell takes a holistic approach to vocal pedagogy.
The book contains five chapters. Chapter 1, "A History of Vocal Pedagogy," gives a historical overview of voice pedagogy beginning in the 16th century until the present time. The purpose is to consider different singing styles in interpreting songs and arias. Chapter 2, "Ethics, Psychology and Vocal Pedagogy," is a unique chapter that examines the entire pedagogical process, including developmental, cognitive, behavioral and social psychology. Professional ethics for the singing teacher is examined in relationship to its psychological implications. Some solid, practical advice is examined in this part.
Chapter 3, "Science and Vocal Pedagogy," is about anatomy, physiology and acoustics and their value to vocal health and hygiene. A practical teaching application is proposed. Chapter 4, "Voices, Tonal Ideals, Classification and Technique," looks at the fundamentals of vocal health and how it affects one's ability to perform consistently well over long period of time. Included in this discussion is the development of the human voice, tonal ideals and voice categories, and incorrect voice classification. Issues concerning vocal technique include coordinated onset and release of sound, breath management, vibrato, agility, resonance, laryngeal, formants and the singer's formant, articulation, vowel modification, sostenuto, dynamic control and messa di voce and hearing, feeling and seeing the voice, warming up and cooling down the voice, and the spoken voice. Chapter 5, "Performance," examines song interpretation in relation to style, historical context and dynamic purpose.
Footnotes are included at the end of each chapter. There are four appendices and excellent diagrams related to the voice. An extended bibliography is included.
Audience: singers and voice teachers
Turner, Jessica Baron, M.A. (2004) Your Musical Child: Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps. Hal Leonard Corp., 7777 West Bluemound Rd., P.O. Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213.239 pp. ISBN: 1-890490-51-2.
Author Jessica Baron Turner is a music educator, guitarist and child development specialist. The most valuable part of this book is the section on different learning styles in which Turner offers suggestions for dealing with the many ways children learn to play or sing music and how to positively address these strengths and weaknesses as either an educator or parent.
There are 18 chapters. Chapter 1, "Parents As Musical Partners," is about nurturing the musical development of a child. Turner advocates getting and staying involved in a child's music making via many different ways. The chapter ends with a section titled "Seventeen Rules of the Musical Road." Chapter 2, "Ages and Stages of Musical Development," explains musical development in children from birth-age 8 and what to expect a child can learn in regard to musical awareness and such things as pitch, rhythmic and instrument development.
Chapter 3, "Pregnancy and Music," discusses how research has not yet proven that being exposed to music during pregnancy will make a child more musically adept. However, music can certainly help a mother be less stressed while pregnant and during labor. Chapter 4, "Cultivating Interest and Talent and Aiming for Success," offers many suggestions for slowly introducing music to children in positive ways. Chapter 5, "Jump-Starting Your Child's Music Education," examines different ways parents can find a music teacher for their child and also suggests that parents take a look at the national standards for music education, which assesses what music educators believe each child is capable of learning at every grade level.
Chapter 6, "Understanding Your Child's Learning Styles," is one of the best chapters in this book because Turner explains the characteristics of different types of learners: visual, auditory, spatial, analytical and kinesthetic and the variations of each type. Chapter 7, "Learning Disabilities vs. Sensory Integration Disorders," looks at the difference between a learning disability and a sensory integration disorder.
Chapter 8, "Singing in Tune and Perfect Pitch," explains the advantages and disadvantages of having relative or perfect pitch. Turner carefully explains how pitch is not the only ingredient in developing good musicianship. Chapter 9, "Rhythm Games," examines various ways of teaching rhythm to children.
Chapter 10, "Music and Intelligence," discusses Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and offers suggestions for promoting music in the schools. Chapter 11, "Music Therapy," is a brief chapter about music as an emotional healing agent. Chapter 12, "Selecting a Musical Instrument," instructs parents and teachers how to help children choose an instrument they can enjoy and will be successful at learning. Chapter 13, "Choosing a Music Teacher and Program," examines different methods, such as Orff, Suzuki and Yamaha. Chapter 14, "Practice, Progress, and Reinforcements," offers sound, practical advice regarding healthy ways to encourage children to practice. Chapter 15, "Preparing to Perform," offers four keys to a successful performance: knowing your music inside and out, getting enough sleep, eating well and knowing how to calm yourself and focus. This chapter offers ways teachers and parents can offer support to young children and teenagers when facing a difficult passage or performing a piece of music. Chapter 16, "Degrees of Excellence," discusses being open-minded about a child's musical success so that a healthy experience occurs regardless of individual goals and achievements. Chapter 17, "All in the Musical Family," details ways to create a healthy musical environment despite the child's ability. Chapter 18, "Big Kids' Dreams of Fame and Fortune," encourages supporting the dreams of students and children.
There is an annotated list of resources in the last section of this book that includes a basic list of recordings, books, websites, organizations and other related materials. A bibliography is also included.
Audience: all music educators interested in teaching children
Kosminsky, Jane and Deborah Caplan. (2000) The Alexander Technique. Wellspring Media, Inc., 419 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10016. www.wellmedia.com. 150 mins. ISBN: 1-58350-106-1.
This DVD is a collaboration of a master teacher of the Alexander Technique and a physical therapist who offer specific and practical guidance for keeping one's back healthy and pain free. Although not specifically related to musicians, a former dancer also collaborates with both Jane Kosminsky and Deborah Caplan on this DVD and gives exercises for learning how to reduce back pain so one can perform in a more healthy way.
Audience: all musicians with back pain
Representing the Balanced Pianist workshops that are presented at various locations nationwide, this website describes a holistic mind-body approach to teaching and performance. Web pages provide information about each of the workshops' components including the Taubman approach based on body alignment and movement training, Don Greene's psychological techniques for overcoming fear and self-doubt (from his book Performance Success), and the Dun and Dun Learning Styles individualized model based on biological and development factors. Training in musical interpretation and physical exercise including yoga, Alexander work and Aston-Patterning are also included. Other features of the website are an illustrated guide for correct seating at the piano, an article on avoiding injury and a list of additional web resources. Teresa Dybvig, director of the Balanced Pianist program, holds a D.M.A. degree in piano performance from the Yale University School of Music and is an experienced music teacher and former faculty member of the Taubman and Golandsky Institutes. Her colleagues include Carol Eugenia Burns, pianist and certified yoga instructor; Susan Nowicki, faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music and accomplished instrumentalist; and Judy Huston, piano teacher and dancer who is also certified in Aston-Patterning and Craniosacral Biodynamics. The website is easy to navigate and provides much insight into the various techniques for preventing injuries, stress and other health problems while enhancing keyboard performance.
Audience: teachers, pianists
This website, created by musicians, provides a wealth of self-help information for protecting the singing voice in all types of vocal performance. Most of the health-related resources can be accessed by clicking on the "Voice Training" tab. These include articles on such topics as self-care for colds and flu, symptoms that require medical attention, yoga and relaxation and herbal remedies. Of particular interest are the recommendations for medications, foods and behaviors that singers should avoid and explanations of the causes and remedies for glottal attack and throat tension. There are also free singing and scales exercises (with MIDI) that include breathing and posture instruction and relaxation exercises. A section on anatomy for singers with articles on articulators, breathing, resonators and vocal folds, is being developed. Although navigation is somewhat quirky and intricate, and the animated graphics are annoying at times, the information contained in this site is well worth a visit.
This site presents resources for classical singers in the New England area; however, its section on vocal health will be of interest to singers everywhere. At present, this link leads to a series of articles on such topics as making informed decisions about treatment for vocal nodules and ways to reduce performance anxiety. These are signed articles showing the author's credentials. Also included is a report on a recent survey of singers concerning their experiences with self-help measures and medical treatments. A series of interviews with various medical specialists who treat vocal disorders in New England may be interesting to singers who are seeking medical expertise or considering various treatment options.
Audience: teachers, vocalists, choral musicians
According to its home page, the New York University Voice Center is "dedicated to the care of the professional voice," and that mission is reflected in the wealth of information offered here for both vocalists and medical practitioners. The information for patients includes tips on maintaining vocal health, a glossary of terms used in diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders, a gallery of clinical photographs designed to help patients understand their conditions, and a collection of video clips demonstrating various voice conditions.
All text is written in clear, precise language that anyone interested in vocal disorders will find helpful. For those who are seeking more advanced information, the section for physicians offers a series of articles on such topics as hoarseness, vocal cord paralysis, polyps and nodules, spasmodic dysphonia and muscle tension. Although directed at medical practitioners, these articles are not too technical for laypersons who have some basic familiarity with voice functioning. Well-written text, good illustration, and easy navigation make this site a valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand conditions that affect the professional voice and the available treatments.
Audience: vocalists, choral musicians, performing artists, medical practitioners
An outstanding resource for all vocalists, this website presents a broad spectrum of information about wellness issues for vocalists, from professional singers to children. Unlike most websites that focus on the physiology of vocal performance and voice care, this site looks at the vocalist from a holistic standpoint, with articles that consider the physical, psychological, social, occupational and spiritual aspects of wellness and performance. In the section "Dimensions of a Singer's Wellness," each of these factors is described and a substantial bibliography of books and articles is given.
There is also information about herbal remedies and a "Singer's 10-Step Daily Wellness Regimen." A section on children's vocal health--a subject on which there is very little available information--is under construction, as is a section on voice lessons and singing-voice therapy. The "Singers Wellness Model" summarizes results from studies done by Director, Dr. Karen Wicklund, who investigated wellness factors in vocalists ranging from high school to professional. A sample of the wellness questionnaire is provided, along with summaries of findings in several studies of vocalists at different age levels. This site is outstanding for its holistic approach, as well as for its consideration of wellness factors at all ages. Its bibliographies are a valuable resource for anyone seeking more information about any of the dimensions of the vocalist's overall health and well-being.
Audience: choral musicians, vocalists, teachers
This website presents a wealth of practical information designed to promote the vocal heath and overall well-being of anyone who uses his or her voice professionally. "Voice Care Tips," contains three sections: a quick-reference chart of dos and don'ts for singers, written by a medical doctor; "Preventing Voice Disorders," an extensive series of pages with exercises to develop and protect the voice as part of a total program of diet, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle choices, along with a lengthy article about the care of the voice during colds or bouts of allergies, sinusitis and other upper respiratory complaints.
Additional information is presented in the popular FAQ format, answering basic questions about the importance of hydration, the avoidance of tobacco and certain medications and the causes of some voice conditions. The "Resources" link provides clinical information suitable for medical practitioners and well-informed patients, explaining the anatomy of voice production, the "Voice Handicap Index" used for clinical assessment of voice functionality/impairment and a series of patient education factsheets. Links to several other clinical voice sites are also provided. This site is noteworthy for its easy navigation, emphasis on wellness rather than pathology, and the broad range of information available for both vocalists and practitioners.
Audience: choral musicians, vocalists, teachers, medical practitioners
This website was created by The Watergate Voice Foundation, a privately funded, nonprofit educational foundation established "to support patients with voice disorders as they seek healing for the more complex, more intractable voice problems." The medical information currently on this site was contributed by a group of voice surgeons who volunteer their time and expertise to this project. Ten categories of information are presented on the home page. First, there is an introductory section that identifies the members of the Board of Editors and the Board of Contributors and Reviewers. Prominent among the editors is Robert Sataloff, M.D., D.M.A., a name well known to anyone in the field of performing arts medicine. The section,"Anatomy and Physiology of Voice Production," uses charts, graphics and bulleted text to explain how voice is produced, with the premise that a clear understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the voice will help a patient understand his or her condition. This is accompanied by a section describing numerous voice disorders and their characteristics, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and related clinical and research questions. Accompanying the information about each condition are sidebars with quick definitions of all medical terms using everyday language, for example "voice box" instead of larynx and "food pipe" instead of esophagus. Major terms are also linked to additional text information, diagrams and related articles.
Another section presents a detailed outline of diagnostic procedures, again with links to other articles and definitions of major technical terms. This is accompanied by an overview of treatments with links for additional information about technical terms. The "Voice Care Team" section describes the clinical practitioners who may be involved in comprehensive treatment of a voice disorder, including speech therapists, acting and singing specialists, medical specialists and doctors in other fields, such as neurology, who may serve as consultants. This information is not related to any specific treatment facility or medical specialist, but rather is a broad overview of the many types of expertise that could be involved in the treatment designed for individual patients. This is paralleled by a "Personal Experiences" section consisting of video clips in which people who have undergone treatment for voice disorders describe their experiences. An unusual feature of this site is the "Symptom Tree" section, which consists of a flow chart organizing voice disorders symptoms into several groups, each factor having a clickable link to possible diagnoses and red flags indicating symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Another outstanding feature is the glossary, which provides not only simple definitions but also links to articles in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. The "Resources" section has a list of links to professional associations and other reliable medical information. An unusual and highly useful feature of this section is a list of pre-selected search terms that can be automatically executed in the PubMed database with a single click. Finally, there is an e-mail link for users to submit comments and questions about the site.
Two additional characteristics contribute to the excellence of this site: firstly, most pages have a PDF file version that can be easily printed. Secondly, and more importantly, a cautionary statement prominently displayed on every page advises users that the information is not to be considered as a substitute for proper medical diagnosis and treatment or as a recommendation for the treatment of any individual patient. With this caution in mind, the user who explores all the features of this site will surely come away with a solid understanding of his or her condition, a sense of direction in seeking medical help and the confidence to become an active participant in the treatment. It would be difficult to use too many superlatives for this site. Seldom has medical information been presented for the layperson in such a comprehensive, understandable and attention-holding format that makes the reader so comfortable with clinical terminology that the explanations do not interrupt the flow of thought. And seldom does one have the benefit of information from a number of medical experts from a variety of institutional settings in one comprehensive source.
Audience: performing artists, vocalists, students
This is a section of the website of the SHURE corporation, a company that develops and markets audio electronic products. Recently, SHURE has taken up the cause of hearing conservation among musicians with a campaign to educate musicians and audio technicians about the risks of sound-induced hearing loss. As part of this project, SHURE is contributing to several well-known hearing conservation organizations and providing hearing-wellness information on its own website.
This page and its linked resources introduce the reader to the special concerns that musicians face with noise exposure during performance, as well as other environmental risk factors that may adversely affect hearing. On this educational page are three links to materials designed to increase musicians' awareness of their hearing risks and suggest ways of preventing hearing loss. There is a FAQ link, which provides brief bits of information about how noise-induced hearing loss occurs and protective measures that can be taken in various situations. There is also an article, "Are your Ears at Risk?", that talks about safe levels of exposure, the role of heredity and medications in hearing loss and protective devices for musicians. In addition, a short list of quick tips on hearing protection and a list of Internet links to additional resources is also provided.
Although the information here is directed primarily towards musicians who perform popular music with electronic instruments in concerts where the sound levels can be astonishingly high, the text points out that other musicians are also at risk. It notes that sound levels in orchestras are sometimes high enough to jeopardize the musicians' hearing, especially in the brass and percussion sections. Although this site will not satisfy those who want detailed medical information, it is an excellent introduction to the problem of noise-induced hearing loss among musicians that will appeal particularly to students who are involved in popular music performance.
Audience: students, all musicians
This commercial site offers a series of articles on many aspects of flutist and musician health. These articles can be found by entering the site from the flash page, and then clicking on the "Performance Health" link near the bottom of this very cluttered, poorly organized page. At present, there are several articles about ergonomic design and customizing a flute for individual playing comfort, one of which features an inexpensive device that can be easily made at home and adapted for individual needs. Other articles discuss the dangers of sound exposure and painful playing techniques. There is also a somewhat outdated article on the use of beta-blockers to treat performance anxiety. Authors and sources are identified on all articles. Although poor web design somewhat detracts from the usefulness of this site, and the articles do not cover all the potential medical problems that flutists may experience, teachers and flutists at all levels will find practical advice on remedying hand and finger discomfort associated with flute playing, as well as some basic information about performance health issues in general.
Audience: flutists, teachers
This website is created and maintained by Jesse Clark, senior web developer at the University of Northern Colorado, who is also completing an undergraduate performance degree with emphasis on flute. Clark offers a very nicely organized series of pages on the issue of arm pain in flutists based on the medically valid premise that tension and incorrect positioning in various parts of the body can lead to pain in other areas, for example, tension in the neck caused by improper positioning of the head while playing can restrict circulation and cause pain in the upper arm. Drawing on well-established techniques, such as Conable's body mapping and the Alexander Technique, Clark describes the problems that can occur in each area of the body, suggesting simple exercises and positioning to avoid or alleviate pain in the arms and hands. His text is documented throughout with footnotes citing both online and published sources. Good design and easy navigation make this site a pleasure to use. Its wellness pages are a valuable resource for flutists and could actually be useful for any instrumentalist who experiences upper body discomfort while playing. Clark directs his information to those who are just beginning to experience pain and urges anyone with severe symptoms to consult a physician. Easy navigation and frequent updating enhance the value of this site.
Audience: flutists, instrumentalists
A special thanks to Rebecca Shockley, NCTM, professor of piano pedagogy and class piano coordinator at the University of Minnesota and former chair of MTNA's Piano Pedagogy Committee; Rebecca G. Johnson, associate professor and director, Community Music School and Conservatory Keyboard Pedagogy at Capital University and former chair of MTNA's Pedagogy Committee; Gall Berenson, NCTM, professor of piano and chair of the keyboard division at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio; and the late Margaret Lorince, NCTM, who all have supported this project and helped keep it an ongoing endeavor. This research has been assisted by Kathryn Kalmanson, head of reference at Blackwell Library at Salisbury University. She continues to do the research necessary for this bibliography and has taken on the full responsibility for the websites, including writing the annotations and making sure the sites are still active.
Linda Cockey, is professor and chair of the Department of Music at Salisbury University in Maryland, teaches piano, music history and a wellness in performance course. She holds a D.M.A. degree from The Catholic University of America.
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|Publication:||American Music Teacher|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2006|
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