I previously reviewed the Practice was a dirty word Music Journal. Whilst printing and production could have been better it is an example of a good practice notebook. I was therefore interested to see if a book on practice by the same author would be up to the same standards.
On first impression I was pleasantly surprised. The quality of binding, paper and cover are much better than the Journal. Print and layout were also very good. Nice start. Onto the content.
The opening chapter deals with why you should practice and why many people don’t practice. A great opening topic for a book on practice. This is not a dry exploration of the subject, rather a concise explanation of some key points. Vitally for me however, Bonetti really scores by adding useful tips along the way. The chapter is not only informative but useful as well.
The chapters that follow continue in the same clear, useful vein. They also focus on a keyword close to our hearts at HTP, namely ‘how’. How much, How to work smart and How to fix mistakes. The emphasis is on usable ideas that you can take to the practice room.
We now reach the first negative of the book. Chapter five, scales. The first four chapters cover 43 pages but Bonetti decides to devote 36 pages to scales alone. I’m not sure they deserve that degree of additional focus. Could that focus raise further concerns about scales for already worried students? The opening of this chapter has good stuff on why to practice scales, however most is devoted to a singular approach to scales. This approach I’m not sure is the best and is also aimed mostly at the piano. The numerous diagrams provided do little to add weight to her argument and are to my mind not something that would appeal to many teachers and students. Despite all this I do think there are still some very useful scale tips here. They just need filtering out.
The next 3 chapters, although not specifically practice related, provide something for everyone. Teachers will find the tips for managing parents useful, parents will find tips for choosing an instrument useful and students will like the advice on preparing for exams.
I’m guilty of getting too involved in my music, of trying to get things too perfect and of focusing on the negative. The final chapter therefore serves as a timely reminder – Enjoy your music. That is after all one of the main goals of anyone practising.
This book has lots of useful information contained within it’s 118 pages. It is very clearly written – readable by both youngster and adults alike. Scales aside I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone. It is a short easy read and good to keep on hand should you need a quick tip.
Practice is a dirty word by Ruth Bonetti, (2002, Words and Music, ISBN: 978-0957886152) is available from:[amazon asin=0957886152&template=htp price]