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DianeB

A Reading List

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Don’t feel like practicing? That’s acceptable every once in a while. (For our purposes, “once in a while” is defined as “once every fifty years”.) If you’ve already used up your 100-year allowance, as I have, try these. The time frames are merely my suggestions. Tip: add a book to your Amazon Wish List, then later search for it at your local library.

For beginners or first year students:

First, Learn to Practice, by Tom Heany

The Little Book of Talent, by Daniel Coyle

The War of Art, by Richard Pressman

Grit, by Angela Duckworth

For second year students:

The Practice of Practice, by Jonathan Harnum

The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle

Mastery, by George Leonard

Turning Pro, by Richard Pressman

For third year students and beyond:

The Practicing Mind, by Thomas Sterner

The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein

Do the Work, by Richard Pressman

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Edly's Music Theory for Practical People, by Ed Roseman

Two other resources I have completed and recommend to anyone who is new to music theory and principles:

The Vaughn Cube for Music Theory

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music, by Prof. Robert Greenberg for The Great Courses

Edited by DianeB
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Wow, great list.

Thanks Diane.

- Steve

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Here are a couple of music theory books that were recommended a number of years ago.

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Thank You Diane!  When I say the old site was going south I wrote down your list from there.  Nice to see a few additions.  The Practicing Mind is the first one I read and it was inspiring!

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On 1/3/2018 at 9:42 PM, DianeB said:

Don’t feel like practicing? That’s acceptable every once in a while. (For our purposes, “once in a while” is defined as “once every fifty years”.) If you’ve already used up your 100-year allowance, as I have, try these. The time frames are merely my suggestions. Tip: add a book to your Amazon Wish List, then later search for it at your local library.

For beginners or first year students:

First, Learn to Practice, by Tom Heany

The Little Book of Talent, by Daniel Coyle

The War of Art, by Richard Pressman

Grit, by Angela Duckworth

For second year students:

The Practice of Practice, by Jonathan Harnum

The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle

Mastery, by George Leonard

Turning Pro, by Richard Pressman

For third year students and beyond:

The Practicing Mind, by Thomas Sterner

The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein

Do the Work, by Richard Pressman

Peak: Secrets from the News Science of Expertise, by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Edly's Music Theory for Practical People, by Ed Roseman

Two other resources I have completed and recommend to anyone who is new to music theory and principles:

The Vaughn Cube for Music Theory

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music, by Prof. Robert Greenberg for The Great Courses

@DianeB I just ordered the Edly book.  Thanks for the recommendation!

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New to the forum and reading old posts. Great list! I have the first one "First, Learn to Practice". Just ordered "The Practice of Practice" for my Kindle reader app. Probably will pick up "The Musician's Way" soon.

Thanks a billion!

 

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There was a time I made a determined effort to educate myself on how to practice.  Of all the books I've come across on the subject the one that was most influential was "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" by Chuan C. Chang.                                                            

http://www.pianopractice.org/book.pdf

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Recently I’ve read some new books that might be of interest. These are oriented toward general self- or skill improvement, not necessarily music, although music skills are well represented. I found valuable nuggets in each. One of these might perk up your practice, as they did for mine.

If you enjoyed the late George Leonard’s Mastery (1991), I encourage you to follow up with his equally concise companion volume, The Way of Aikido (1999). It provides the backstory to the aikido lessons in Mastery, and we learn what it’s like to become a newly minted black belt. (Hint: You start over.)

From the NYT best seller list we have James Clear’s Atomic Habits (2018) — build good habits and break bad ones. Chapter One alone is worth the price. Also well reviewed is Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (2017) by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

And we have a pair from co-authors Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, who have made new careers of studying the research on performance: Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success (2017). In writing that book, they discovered that burnout was a subject in itself. They tackle the issues that arise specifically from following your passion in The Passion Paradox (2019).

To borrow author Tom Peters’ phrase from a related context, “there is an eerie similarity of language” among all these authors’ findings and recommendations. I heard the same themes echoing again and again: Deliberate practice. Consistency. Self-awareness. Tradeoffs. Challenge.

Warnings abound: The object of your passion can consume and crush you. Feedback is healthy, but pursuing external validation is a fool’s errand. Rest — short, medium, and long term — is a biological necessity for growth.

The principles apply to learning guitar or improving at almost anything. The links above go to Amazon, but first check your local library. Enjoy!

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Looked through the books listed in your original post (January 2018, edited). Anyway, I just ordered "The Practicing Mind." The author's journey and mine are similar; guitar player returning to piano as an adult, etc. It's easy to forget the journey and want immediate results especially when technology provides so much available at our fingertips. He even discusses this very thing in the book.

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Thank you all for the great list of books. If I may add another book to the list, one which I have read a few years ago and seems to remain in my mind. Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy and Sharp by John Medina.

Brain Rules for Aging Well

I can recall how the author characterizes the changes in the brain as we age and how to become self aware of those changes. This in turn helps us to better understand how we can improve our behaviour in social settings.

Edited by Oldjock
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