Music Practice Resources, Tips, Techniques
Part I of The Musician’s Way presents six groundbreaking chapters that outfit musicians to practice creatively and efficiently. The content below supplements those chapters.
Portable Digital Recorders for Musicians
Audio recorders for musicians
Zoom H4n Pro. Outstanding! A musician favorite.
Zoom H2n. Excellent for self-study recording.
Zoom H6. Extraordinary 6-track recorder with 24 bit, 96K capability.
Tascam DR-22WL. A lower-cost option for self-study recording.
Video recorders for musicians
Zoom Q8n. Convenience and quality.
Sony FDRAX53 4K HD Camcorder. Superb; multiple mic options.
4K camcorders at Amazon – vast selection, low prices.
Sennheiser MKE 440 stereo mic – 3.5mm connector. Outstanding!
Scores and Sheet Music
Internet Music Score Library Project. A vast repository of free scores.
The 4 Types of Music Editions by Gerald Klickstein. Avoid faulty editions!
Bavarian State Library Digital Collections. Complete works of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Liszt, Handel, and more.
Music Manuscripts Online. Via the Morgan Library & Museum.
Music Treasures Consortium. Via the US Library of Congress.
WorldCat.org. Find scores, books, recordings in libraries worldwide.
Juilliard Manuscript Collection. 140 documents for online viewing.
Discover Underrepresented Composers
The Boulanger Initiative
Composers Equity Project
Databases of Repertoire by Underrepresented Composers, a compilation from the League of American Orchestras.
New Muses Project
Women Composers of Art Songs
Sheet Music Sources
American Sheet Music, 1870-1885. US Library of Congress.
African-American Sheet Music. Thousands of scores via Brown University.
Historic American Sheet Music. From the Duke University Music Library.
Sheet Music Consortium. Free downloads from multiple libraries.
Yiddish Sheet Music. From the collection at Brown University.
Warm-Ups & Restorative Movements for Musicians
The Total Warm-up. Crucial strategies, via The Musician’s Way Blog.
A Proper Warm-up Has Important Benefits, by physiologist E. Quinn.
David Russell speaks about warming up, practicing, maintaining a repertoire of accessible pieces, and preserving the fun in music making. (3-min. video)
Qi Gong [Tai Chi] Exercises for Musicians. Video by Scott Lee.
See p. 23-34 of The Musician’s Way.
7 Essentials of Artistic Interpretation, by Gerald Klickstein
Videos: Search YouTube for videos of master musicians teaching interpretation. Use keywords such as “Pavarotti masterclass” or “violin master class.”
Books about Musical Interpretation
The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 15th printing, 2019).
Singing in Style, by Martha Elliott (Yale, 2006).
See p. 114-129 of The Musician’s Way.
“how to play in someone else’s band,” by Danny Barnes. Sage advice!
11 Ways to Build Trust within Your Team. Via the Lead Change Group.
“The Secrets of Successful Collaboration,” by Keppie Coutts. Insights into collective songwriting; broadly applicable.
“Two Is the Magic Number.” The power of collaboration (Slate, 2010).
“The Role of Chamber Music in Learning to Perform: A Case Study,” by Burt-Perkins & Mills (2008).
“Strategies for Ensemble Practice,” a chapter by Davidson & King, in Musical Excellence, Aaron Williamon, ed., 105-122 (Oxford, 2004).
Associated Chamber Music Players. Facilitates informal playing.
Books about Collaboration
The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 19th printing, 2023).
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, by Daniel Coyle (Bantam, 2018).
The Art of Quartet Playing: The Guarneri Quartet in Conversation with David Blum (Cornell, 1987).
The Power of Positive Criticism, by H. Weisinger (Amacom, 2000).
Toxic Criticism, by Eric Maisel (McGraw Hill, 2006).
Music Practice, Theory & History Resources & References
Articles about Deep Practice on The Musician’s Way Blog.
Tonal Harmony, 7th Edition, by Kostka & Payne (McGraw Hill, 2012). The standard theory text used in top music schools.
Theta Music Trainer. Outstanding online ear training & music theory games!
Boss Dr. Beat DB-60 metronome. Excellent!
Boss DB-90. Superior features.
Metronome Apps. A selected list from Bulletproof Musician.
Rhythmic Precision. Tips to use metronomes effectively, by Gerald Klickstein.
Online Resources for Music Scholars compiled by Harvard librarians.
Classical.net. Articles, reviews, and other resources (1995-2018).
“It’s Not How Much; It’s How.” By Robert A. Duke. Research pinpointing effective practice strategies. (JRME, 56/4, Jan. 2009)
The Power of Daily Practice, by Eric Maisel (New World, 2020). Advice, inspiration, guidelines.
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, (Harvard, 2014).
Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, by Lemov, Woolway & Yezzi (Jossey-Bass, 2012). Mainly for educators.
The Science & Psychology of Music Performance, eds, Parncutt & McPherson (Oxford, 2002). See “Practice,” by Barry & Hallam, 151-166.
Musical Excellence: Strategies and Techniques to Enhance Performance, ed. Aaron Williamon (Oxford, 2004). See: “Strategies for Individual Practice,” by H. Jørgensen, 85-103; Mental Skills Training,” by Connolly & Williamon, 221-246.
For improvisation resources, see the For Instrumentalists page.
Listening to Music
Deep Listening. An article on The Musician’s Way Blog.
World Music Resources
Eye Movement in Music Reading. A well-referenced article on Wikipedia.
“Sight-Reading,” by Lehmann & McArthur, in The Science & Psychology of Music Performance, eds. Parncutt & McPherson, 135-150 (Oxford, 2002).
“Strategies for Sight-reading and Improvising Music,” in Musical Excellence, edited by Aaron Williamon, 143-159 (Oxford, 2004).
Sight-Reading/Sight Singing Methods
Memorization for Musicians
See p. 82-93 of The Musician’s Way.
The Four Stages of Memorization. A top-ranked article by Gerald Klickstein.
Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by Brown, Roediger, McDaniel (Harvard, 2014).
Memorization: Psychological Data and Some Practical Tips, by Scott M. Smith.
“Memorising Music,” by Aaron Williamon, in Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding, ed. John Rink, 113-126 (Cambridge, 2002).
“Memory,” by Aiello and Williamon, in The Science & Psychology of Music Performance, eds. Parncutt & McPherson, 167-181 (Oxford, 2002).
“Singing by Heart: Memorization Strategies for the Words and Music of Songs,” by Jane Ginsborg, in The Music Practitioner, ed. Jane Davidson, 149-160 (Ashgate, 2004).
“Performing from Memory,” by Chaffin, Logan, & Begosh, in The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, (2008, p. 352-363).
“The Value of Performing from Memory,” by Aaron Williamon, Psychology of Music, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 84-95 (1999).
“Strategies for Memorizing Music,” by Jane Ginsborg, in Musical Excellence, ed. Aaron Williamon, 123-141 (Oxford, 2004).
Practicing Perfection: Memory and Piano Performance, by Chaffin, Imreh, and Crawford (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002).
Read the Preface to Guide to Memorizing Music, by Alfred J. Goodrich (1906).
The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 19th printing, 2023). Comprehensive guidelines to learn, memorize, and perform.