The book Musical Excellence

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    Michael Lake

    I recently stumbled across this interesting book. I’m creating an online course for adult beginner musicians of any instrument so a book like this seemed worth reading.

    The book is called Musical Excellence and is written by Aaron Williamson, the research fellow in psychology of music at the Royal Collage of music in London. Published in 2004.

    One of the reasons it’s a good book for me is that it is academic in the extreme. I am non-academic in the extreme so it is a welcome balance as I create my online course. As an example of its scholarly basis, Williamson actually quotes a study that determined that students practice more just prior to a recital or other important performance than they do in their breaks. That humorous aside should not take away from the wealth of valuable research that went into this book on topics like practicing, performance, memorizing music, the role of physical fitness, strategies for sight reading, improvisation and much more. There is even a chapter on drug use that takes a pretty objective position on that controversial subject.

    Curious if there are other similar books out there that you would recommend.

    Michael Lake
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