Mastering the Art of Performance: A Primer for Musicians

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Oxford University Press, Dec 15, 2005 - Music - 224 pages
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In Mastering the Art of Performance: A Primer for Musicians, Stewart Gordon offers seasoned advice to musicians intent on meeting the challenges of performance. Through real-life examples and pre-performance exercises, this accessible manual gives musicians and other performers practical insights into every aspect of performance. While other books merely identify and describe the problems associated with performance, this book offers detailed suggestions for solving them. First, Gordon tackles the critical planning and preparatory stages, helping performers to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. The book's easy-to-follow exercises address the self-doubt and anxiety many musicians contend with, helping them to analyze why they perform, set goals and assess the level of energy needed to achieve them, and develop a performance philosophy. The book also offers techniques that will help musicians deal with some of the classic pitfalls of performance preparation, including repetition and drill, changing bad habits, and developing memory. For the performance itself, Gordon's insights help musicians with pacing and managing stage fright. For the aftermath, Gordon arms performers with strategies for dealing with criticism and conducting a constructive self-evaluation, equipping them to face the challenges of a lifetime of performances, including career plateaus and burnout. Gordon draws from more than forty years of experience in front of audiences to offer readers invaluable tips and personal reflections. While aimed primarily at musicians, the book will be useful to anyone facing the pressures of performance, such as actors, dancers, and even public speakers.

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Defining Performance
Assessing Yourself the Performer Achieving a Positive MindSet toward Performance
Why We Perform Forging a Performance Philosophy
Physical Support for Performance
Conceptualizing and Scheduling Goals
Keeping Preparation Fresh and Focused
Dealing with Repetition and Drill
Techniques to Develop Secure Memorization
Dynamics during Performance
Evaluation after Performance
Performance and Human Interaction
The Career Challenge
Physical Challenge and Performance
Performance Careers in Retrospect
Performance and Your Spiritual Life
Selected Bibliography

Ensuring Quality
SelfRegard at the Time of Performance
Managing Stage Fright

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Page 8 - Fear before each concert is the price I pay for my superb life.

About the author (2005)

Stewart Gordon has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a pianist, teacher, editor, composer, and author. His books and video tapes are widely used in university classrooms. His new edition of the thirty-two Beethoven piano sonatas is attracting wide attention for its scholarly research. He is currently a Professor of Keyboard Studies at the Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California.

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