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

The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness, by Geram Klickstein. Oxford University Press, 2009.; (800) 451-7556; 343 pp. $24.95.


The book is intended for first year university-level music students. It can function as a companion text for applied musical performance instruction, as well as a resource for all musicians who desire to improve their abilities.

There are three main parts in the book, "Artful Practice," "Fearless Performance" and "Lifelong Creativity," each of which is divided into several chapters. These are further subdivided into sections, which themselves often have subheadings and outlined material. Indeed, the entire book appears to be one large outline, which contributes to its utility.

At a time when there are numerous texts devoted to the performance and pedagogy for specific instruments--piano, voice, strings, winds and so on, Gerald Klickstein, himself a noted classical guitarist and artist teacher, has accepted the daunting task of writing a guide equally applicable to all musicians regardless of performing medium. A man of extensive of experience, Klickstein is obviously very well read and has taken great effort to research the issues and problems every music student faces regarding practice, goal setting, motivation, problem solving, technical growth, drill, memorization, performing and artistry--all with an awareness of the physical properties of instruments or voice, and the limitations of the human body and psyche so all might be accomplished without injury.

There are several features I find attractive about the book. The writing style is informal, clear and easy to follow. For the scholar there are numerous footnotes that lead the reader to well-chosen references. In addition, there is a bibliography and a generous index of names and topics. At the beginning of each major heading there is a "paradigmatic" quotation from a well-known composer, performer, educator or other expert that creates an air of importance and credibility for the subject at hand.

Numerous illustrations and charts are available as well. Another feature is the use of side boxes that remind the reader of the main points of that section. This is of great value to anyone who reads the entire book and comes back to it later for review, enabling the reader to find any of the topics easily. It is helpful also to the person who doesn't have time to read the book cover to cover, but can survey the material quickly by relying on headings, outlines, topic sentences and the side boxes, charts and illustrations.--Reviewed by Ivan Frazier, NCTM, University of Georgia

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Author:Frazier, Ivan
Publication:American Music Teacher
Date:Feb 1, 2010
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