What is the point of practice? One of the key aspects has to be preparation for a performance. In this book David Buswell deals with the specifics of what happens and what is required at the moment of performance.
If you are expecting a collection of music related ideas and suggestions you will be sadly dissapointed. Whilst it does deal with ideas and concepts of musical performance it is not full of musical references and examples. Instead the material is drawn from the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming. As such the ideas presented here are as applicable to music performance, sports or any other endevour where a peak of performance needs to be reached.
Early sections of the book are devoted to describing the effects of stressful situations on the body, breathing and relaxation. Ideas and suggestions on how to combat these effects are provided.
The book then moves onto the mental aspects of playing and how visualisation can help.
Most interesting for me were the sections on practice preparation and pre-performance preparation. Whilst not specific in what to prepare or when there is much useful detail on how to prepare the mind for performance. I found the suggestions on how to deal with errors in performance very useful and would recommend these to others.
Post performance review and how to gain perspective in this completes the book.
If you are someone that likes simple, no nonsense advice then they way that ideas are presented here may not appeal to you. Those with more ‘new age’ leanings who believe in hypnosis and the like may find it of more use. Whichever camp you come from there is something to be taken from this book.
Is this at the top of my list of books on practice? No. I would however say that it does have some useful exercises and, most usefully, makes you stop and think about why things happen the way they do during performance.
Performance Strategies for Musicians by David Buswell, (2006, MX Publishing, ISBN: 978-1904312225) is available from:[amazon asin=1904312225&template=htp price]