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.

Self-Recording in Practice | 5 Benefits of Self-Recording. Articles by GK.
Audacity. Free open-source software for audio recording and editing.

Video recorders for musician

Zoom Q4n. Excellent video and audio quality.
HD camcorders at Amazon – vast selection & low prices.

Scores and Sheet Music

Also see Instrument-Specific Resources and For Singers.

Internet Music Score Library Project. A vast repository of free scores.

The 4 Types of Music Editions by Gerald Klickstein. Avoid faulty editions!

Classical Sheet Music from Amazon.

Free downloadable scores via the Sibley Music Library at Eastman.
Free online scores from the Indiana Univ. Music Library.
Staatsbibliothek Berlin. Scores, autograph manuscripts, and much more.

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.

Bach Digital.
Beethoven Haus – Digital Archives.
Brahms Digital. Autograph manuscripts, early editions, and more.

Index of Digital Collections. Links from the Virtual Library of Musicology.
Sheet Music Consortium. Free downloads from multiple libraries.

WorldCat.org. Find scores, books, recordings in libraries worldwide.

Neue Mozart Ausgabe free digital version by Bärenreiter.
Schubert Autographs. Free online viewing of Schubert’s manuscripts.
More Schubert Autographs, via the Morgan Library & Museum.

MusOpen.com. Free scores. Search by composer, period, instrument.
Mutopia Project. Free public-domain classical music engraved by volunteers.

The Danish National Digital Sheet Music Archive.
The Düben Collection. 17th & early 18th music from the Univ. of Uppsala.
Web Library of 17th Century Music.

Juilliard Manuscript Collection. 140 documents for online viewing.

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.
Yiddish Sheet Music. From the collection at Brown University.

Warm-Ups & Restorative Movements for Musicians

See The Musician’s Way p. 37-39 & 75-82 as well as the For Singers page.

The Total Warm-up. Crucial strategies, via The Musician’s Way Blog.

A Proper Warm-up Has Important Benefits, by physiologist E. Quinn.

Relax and Renew, by Judith Lasater (Rodmell, 1995).
The Breathing Book, by Donna Farhi (MacMillan, 1996).

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.

Musical Interpretation

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).

Note Grouping, by James Thurmond (Meredith, 1982).
Musical Interpretation, by Tobias Matthay (Schirmer, 1918). Free e-book.

The Rhythmic Structure of Music, by Cooper & Meyer (Chicago, 1960).
The Composer’s Advocate, by Erich Leinsdorf (Yale, 1982).

Baroque Music: Style & Performance, by R. Donington (Norton, 1982).
Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard, by P. Badura-Skoda (Oxford, 1995).
The End of Early Music, by Bruce Haynes (Oxford, 2007).

Singing in Style, by Martha Elliott (Yale, 2006).

Musical Collaboration

See p. 114-129 of The Musician’s Way.

“Ten Tips for Collaborating Musicians” & “Collaborative Criticism
Must-know info from The Musician’s Way Blog.

“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.

“Eleven steps to fixing the problem that occurs when you work harder than everyone else in the band,” by Bruce Warila.

From MindTools.com: Resolving team conflict | Leadership and teamwork tools | How good are your communication skills? (Quiz)

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 Wayby Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 15th printing, 2019).
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

The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 15th printing, 2019). The most complete book ever published for aspiring musicians. Read reviews.

Articles about Deep Practice on The Musician’s Way Blog.

Theta Music Trainer. Outstanding ear training & music theory games!

Tonal Harmony7th Edition, by Kostka & Payne (McGraw Hill, 2012). The standard theory text used in top music schools.

MusicTheory.net | Teoría.com. Practice theory & ear training online.

K&M Folding Music Stand | K&M iPad/Tablet Stand

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.

Good-ear.com. Free online ear trainer.
Online Tone Generator. Free

Theory worksheets. Print out and practice intervals, triads, and more.
MusicCards.net. Online music theory flash cards.

Multimedia Music Dictionary, from OnMusic.org.
Dictionary of Composers, by Steven Estrella.
Sound Reasoning. Free music appreciation course by Anthony Brandt.

Online Resources for Music Scholars compiled by Harvard librarians.

Classical.net. Articles, reviews, and other resources.

It’s Not How Much; It’s How.” By Robert A. Duke. Research pinpointing effective practice strategies. (JRME, 56/4, Jan. 2009)

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, (Belknap, 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.

YouTube. Search by performer, composer, title.
Amazon Prime. Unlimited streaming of music and video. Free trial.

Pandora Internet Radio. | Spotify.

Medici.tv. Free and subscription access to HD classical music videos.
Digital Concert Hall, via the Berlin Philharmonic.

Classical Archives. Free trial.
ClassicalConnect.com. Free.
ClassicFM.com. Music, news, and more.

Recordings from Naxos (classical and jazz).
Blue Note records. Jazz recordings and news. Also see Jazz Resources.

World Music Resources

World Music, 4th Ed. – companion website. Excellent compilation of videos.
Smithsonian Folkways.

Sight-Reading

Effortless Sight-Reading.” A popular article on The Musician’s Way Blog.
Also see p. 99-102 of The Musician’s Way.

PracticeSightReading.com. Generate rhythm exercises; multiple levels.

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

Solfèges des Solfèges, by A. Dannhäuser (3 vols.). Free download.
A New Approach to Sight Singing, by Berkowitz, Frontrier, & Kraft.
Rhythmical Articulation, by Pasquale Bona.

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 (Belknap, 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; 15th printing, 2019). Comprehensive guidelines to learn, memorize, and perform.
The Musician's Way book cover - click to preview the text