The Inner Game of Music, the breakout hit that became a standard primer in the music world, has taught thousands of musicians—professionals and amateurs alike—how to overcome self-consciousness and stage fright and to recapture a youthful, almost effortless capacity to learn. Now, in his follow-up book, The Mastery of Music, Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artistic qualities that make an extraordinary musician. Culling advice from dozens of interviews with legends including Joshua Bell, Dave Brubeck, Jeffrey Kahane, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher Parkening, Doc Severinsen, Frederica von Stade, the Harlem Boys Choir, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, he reveals that it’s not enough to have a cerebral and emotional connection to the notes. Green hows how musical excellence, exhibited by true virtuosos, requires a mastery of ten unique qualities of the soul and the human spirit, such as confidence, passion, discipline, creativity, and relaxed concentration, and he discusses specific ways in which all musicians, composers, and conductors can take their skills to higher levels. He carefully incorporates all instruments and techniques in his rejuvenating discussions, inspiring the stifled student to have fun again and the over-rehearsed performer to rediscover the joy of passionate expression. Essential reading for every musician, The Mastery of Music strikes a beautiful new chord.
In his follow-up to The Inner Game of Music, which sought to teach musicians how to overcome mental barriers to inspired playing, bassist Green defines ten qualities that offer a"pathway to true artistry": communication, courage, discipline, fun, passion, tolerance, concentration, confidence, ego/humility and creativity."When you develop these qualities to a high level," he says,"you have achieved mastery not only of your instrument and your concentration, but of who you are and how you present yourself to others." Each"path" receives its own chapter of inspirational anecdotes and advice, and each is exemplified by a certain instrument or type of musician. For example, French horn and percussion, instruments that"just get one chance" and have"nowhere to hide," illustrate the importance of courage; violas, who sit literally and musically between violins and cellos, represent tolerance; and duos, chamber groups and conductors symbolize the value of communication. Dozens of respected musicians, from Leonard Bernstein to members of the Harlem Boys Choir, share anecdotes about coping with stress, prioritizing, self-acceptance, preparation, concentration, focus and other life-skills. Along with general, inspirational advice for living and playing well, the book also makes valuable specific recommendations (e.g., the benefits of practicing slowly, establishing personal boundaries, visualization exercises, etc.). While the book's gimmick may seem overworked at first, the author is so knowledgeable and sincere that his volume should appeal to musicians and music lovers of all stripes.
A must read for any classical musician (pro or amateur)!