This subject has been a part of my playing since the beginning and I have to constantly remind myself of the techniques I learned when preparing for a recital or an important audition. The readings listed have truly helped me out in my journey and hopefully will help others, too.
Fight Your Fear and Win, Don Greene, Ph.D. (Sport Psychologist)
This is a great resource to help a person determine on what areas they need to work the most to get the best results out of their performance, whether it be performing a recital, in an ensemble, or standing in front of a class to teach. Dr. Greene discusses the seven areas that make up a performance and i the book is divided into chapters to address those areas: 1) determination, 2) energy, 3) perspective, 4) courage, 5) focus, 6) poise, 7) resilience. The reader can take an online survey through his webpage to determine what areas are the weakest, then begin working on those. The whole book provides great insight on how the mind works in performance mode.
Zen in the Art of Martial Arts, Joe Hyams
There are many books in the Zen in the art of series, but I believe this one might be the most helpful for me. It contains very short chapters written by Hyams describing his lessons with the Martial Arts master, Bruce Lee.
Zen in the Art of Archery
Meditation for Beginners
PRACTICE AND PREPARATION
Sometimes it is good to look outside of music for inspiration. With that being said, I am a sports fanatic, and there are a lot of inspirational resources written about and by some of the greatest athletes on the planet. Their journey to greatness through their work ethic is very motivational in music because the greatest musicians had to work just as hard to achieve true mastery. The following books are about people who became the best in their respective fields and have built a reputation on their greatness, how their hard work and preparation paid off.
The Art of Practicing
The Talent Code
NEW ORLEANS BRASS BANDS
The sounds of New Orleans “street bands” are dear to my heart, not because I grew up there, but because I fell in love with this style of music while working on my DMA and eventually became my DMA essay “dissertation” topic. Something that is very unique about these bands is that they are great musicians and really play from the soul. It is very easy for me to listen to them, especially live, and hear the emotion pouring out into the intense groove and melodic solos.
Keeping the Beat on the Street, Mick Burns
Keeping the Beat on the Street is the story of the New Orleans brass bands from 1970 through 2000. Burns discusses the brass band revival that began with the Fairview Baptist Church and its brass band. Those musicians formed the bands people know today, like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band and others. It is complete with the history of the later part of the twentieth century and interviews with band members of the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, Olympia, and others.