The Balanced Musician
Integrating Mind and Body for Peak Performance
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About the author
Lesley Sisterhen McAllister is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy in the School of Music of Baylor University, Waco, Texas. She regularly publishes in American Music Teacher and previously served as the chair of the editorial board for the Music Teachers National Association E-Journal.
For musicians to attain the level of peak performance that they know is within their reach, they need to do more than spend time in the practice room. The most accomplished and healthiest musicians lead a balanced and satisfying life in which they place equal emphasis on three areas of musicianship: physical technique (body); analysis and knowledge (mind); and musicianship and creativity (soul). By integrating all of the parts of this triangle, you can learn to communicate creatively and with seeming effortlessness during performance. Organized into four main parts, this book first explores the mind-body connection and then separately discusses the mind, body, and soul of musicians, scholars, performers, and teachers of all voices and instruments.
By delving into research literature in both sport psychology and music, you will learn to use mental rehearsal and imagery away from your instrument and deliberate practice at your instrument. You will also learn such relaxation techniques as meditation, centering, stretching, and deep breathing. Drawing on findings from scientific studies, particularly in the area of sports medicine, McAllister offers practical tools for your practice, performances, and daily routine. By learning these techniques, you will also find enhanced confidence, concentration, endurance, and control over your own music-making.
With terms, questions for reflection, and assignments at the end of each chapter, this book may be used as a textbook for a course or as a supplement to music lessons. Both novice and experienced performers alike will learn ways to meet career demands and reach their full potential. Appendixes at the end of the book contain worksheets, scripts, questionnaires, self-evaluation forms, and journal entries that help you to individualize your work. Every musician who spends countless hours practicing deserves to learn these techniques, which will forever change the way you approach both practice and performance.
; November 2012
356 pages; ISBN 9780810882942Read online
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Title: The Balanced Musician
Author: Lesley Sisterhen McAllister
How to Use this Book
Part One: The Mind-Body Connection
Chapter One: The Performer’s Challenges
Chapter Two: Sport Psychology
Chapter Three: The Connection Between Mind and Body
Chapter Four: “Performance Anxiety”
Part Two: The Mind
Chapter Five: Cognitive Strategies
Chapter Six: Mental Characteristics of Peak Performers
Chapter Seven: Mind-to-Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Chapter Eight: Imagery
Chapter Nine: Mental Rehearsal
Part Three: The Body
Chapter Ten: Muscle-to-Mind Relaxation Techniques
Chapter Eleven: Stretching
Chapter Twelve: The Balanced Musician
Appendix 1: Self-Evaluation Form for Video Recording
Appendix 2: Anxiety Preview Questionnaire
Appendix 3: Imagery Scripts
In the press
Musicians have become increasingly aware of the importance of physical and mental health and their connection to comfortable and communicative performance. In her comprehensive volume, The Balanced Musician, McAllister has gathered diverse topics on mind-body interaction in one comprehensive package of discussions, exercises, and questions to ponder. Each subject in this invaluable resource is extensively researched, with citations abounding. Nothing is left without a full definition or a reason for inclusion. . . .The author’s background and areas of expertise have led her to deftly target three types of musicians. Students will read the book from cover to cover, working diligently through each exercise, completing all assignments, and hearing and feeling significant changes in their ease of performance. Teachers will use it as a resource, picking and choosing chapters that pertain to specific areas of need, appreciating its influence both on their students and on their own performances. Professional musicians will re-evaluate their performance processes and discover helpful exercises to enhance their skills. This volume is a must-have for the performing musician.