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The Young Musician's Survival Guide: Tips from Teens and Pros.

The Young Musician's Survival Guide: Tips from Teens and Pros, by Amy Nathan. Oxford University Press, 2008. www.us.oup.com; (800) 451-7556; 180 pp. $12.95.

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The second edition of Amy Nathan's guide for young musicians is an engaging, accessible and welcome resource for young musicians. The book is intended for students who are beginning their studies in music (upper elementary--high school) and serves as a primer of advice regarding many areas of interest and concern to young musicians. Students are offered constructive ideas that range from practice philosophies and strategies to instrument choices.

A hallmark of the book is the inclusion of vignettes from professional musicians, as well as successful student musicians. The questions and concerns of students who are beginning their musical studies are addressed by the "Troupe of Advisors" assembled for the book. These responses are carefully woven into chapters that respond to frequently asked questions of our young musicians in a positive and problem-solving manner. "Real world" questions such as: "What do I do when the person next to me keeps playing wrong notes?" and "How do I respond to the violinist next to me who keeps hitting my leg with her down bows?" are answered with solutions that are accessible for young students.

Most of the examples used in the book are from musicians who play orchestra and/or band instruments; however, the philosophy and underlying premise of the book provides examples that students will be able to transfer to their own situations, regardless of the instrument they study. One interesting addition in this second edition is the inclusion of web resources and more solutions that include technology in general. The informal style and inclusion of biographies of professional musicians create an informative and interesting resource for students.

Studio teachers may find it very useful to include this book as part of the lesson experience for their students. The book is divided into 10 chapters that are fairly short and address various aspects of musical study and performance. A studio teacher may wish to have the student read a chapter a week and then use that chapter as the basis for a continuing conversation regarding practice habits, communication between teacher and student, performance opportunities in the community or performance anxiety. If several books were purchased, students could also use this guide as a part of group lessons to discuss the chapters in a book-club atmosphere.

School music teachers may request that this book be included in their school library or the library in their classroom. Students who are beginning serious study in music may be able to find answers to their questions, and perhaps new questions they hadn't considered before, by reading this resource. Music teachers themselves may also enjoy the gentle reminders offered by the student and professional musicians who shared their thoughts in this edition.--Reviewed by Alice M. Hammel, Richmond, Virginia

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Author:Hammel, Alice M.
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2009
Words:482
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