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The Mastery of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry

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The Inner Game of Music, the breakout hit that became a standard primer in the music world, has taught thousands of musicians—professionals and amateurs alike—how to overcome self-consciousness and stage fright and to recapture a youthful, almost effortless capacity to learn. Now, in his follow-up book, The Mastery of Music, Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artisti The Inner Game of Music, the breakout hit that became a standard primer in the music world, has taught thousands of musicians—professionals and amateurs alike—how to overcome self-consciousness and stage fright and to recapture a youthful, almost effortless capacity to learn. Now, in his follow-up book, The Mastery of Music, Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artistic qualities that make an extraordinary musician. Culling advice from dozens of interviews with legends including Joshua Bell, Dave Brubeck, Jeffrey Kahane, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher Parkening, Doc Severinsen, Frederica von Stade, the Harlem Boys Choir, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, he reveals that it’s not enough to have a cerebral and emotional connection to the notes. Green hows how musical excellence, exhibited by true virtuosos, requires a mastery of ten unique qualities of the soul and the human spirit, such as confidence, passion, discipline, creativity, and relaxed concentration, and he discusses specific ways in which all musicians, composers, and conductors can take their skills to higher levels. He carefully incorporates all instruments and techniques in his rejuvenating discussions, inspiring the stifled student to have fun again and the over-rehearsed performer to rediscover the joy of passionate expression. Essential reading for every musician, The Mastery of Music strikes a beautiful new chord.


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The Inner Game of Music, the breakout hit that became a standard primer in the music world, has taught thousands of musicians—professionals and amateurs alike—how to overcome self-consciousness and stage fright and to recapture a youthful, almost effortless capacity to learn. Now, in his follow-up book, The Mastery of Music, Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artisti The Inner Game of Music, the breakout hit that became a standard primer in the music world, has taught thousands of musicians—professionals and amateurs alike—how to overcome self-consciousness and stage fright and to recapture a youthful, almost effortless capacity to learn. Now, in his follow-up book, The Mastery of Music, Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artistic qualities that make an extraordinary musician. Culling advice from dozens of interviews with legends including Joshua Bell, Dave Brubeck, Jeffrey Kahane, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher Parkening, Doc Severinsen, Frederica von Stade, the Harlem Boys Choir, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, he reveals that it’s not enough to have a cerebral and emotional connection to the notes. Green hows how musical excellence, exhibited by true virtuosos, requires a mastery of ten unique qualities of the soul and the human spirit, such as confidence, passion, discipline, creativity, and relaxed concentration, and he discusses specific ways in which all musicians, composers, and conductors can take their skills to higher levels. He carefully incorporates all instruments and techniques in his rejuvenating discussions, inspiring the stifled student to have fun again and the over-rehearsed performer to rediscover the joy of passionate expression. Essential reading for every musician, The Mastery of Music strikes a beautiful new chord.

30 review for The Mastery of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Artemisia Hunt

    Every book on musical technique, practice or performance that I have read adds something new to my own tool kit as a practicing musician. In The Mastery of Music, Barry Green approaches mastery as a many faceted achievement and so devotes each individual chapter to one of his “pathways to true artistry”. These pathways are the essential qualities a musician needs to cultivate in order to become the best performing artist he or she can be. Using the different instruments and players making up an Every book on musical technique, practice or performance that I have read adds something new to my own tool kit as a practicing musician. In The Mastery of Music, Barry Green approaches mastery as a many faceted achievement and so devotes each individual chapter to one of his “pathways to true artistry”. These pathways are the essential qualities a musician needs to cultivate in order to become the best performing artist he or she can be. Using the different instruments and players making up an orchestra or performing ensemble as examples of each, he examines skills like passion, tolerance, confidence, discipline and courage in great depth and shows why they are each so important, not only to the orchestra as a whole but also for each individual member. Filled with advice from virtuoso performers and plenty of tips for honing these essential qualities, this book is one of the most thorough I’ve read on the subject of mastery, and not just for musicians, but for anyone wanting to take their skills in any arena to a higher level.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    One of the more inspiring books on music and artistry that I've read. I will be rereading this one periodically. It is changing my whole approach to practicing. Must now go back and read The Inner Game of Music. One of the more inspiring books on music and artistry that I've read. I will be rereading this one periodically. It is changing my whole approach to practicing. Must now go back and read The Inner Game of Music.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlynn Cook

    4.5 stars This book is absolutely a must-read for any musician. I'd say even more of a must-read than Green's precursory book The Inner Game of Music. Though Green does have a tendency to ramble and repeat himself frequently, the book remains to be inspiring and insightful. I particularly found Chapter Three, the chapter on discipline, to be a valuable source of insight into how I should reform my practice strategies. Whereas Chapter Six: Tolerance, was a valuable lesson, not just in music, but 4.5 stars This book is absolutely a must-read for any musician. I'd say even more of a must-read than Green's precursory book The Inner Game of Music. Though Green does have a tendency to ramble and repeat himself frequently, the book remains to be inspiring and insightful. I particularly found Chapter Three, the chapter on discipline, to be a valuable source of insight into how I should reform my practice strategies. Whereas Chapter Six: Tolerance, was a valuable lesson, not just in music, but in life. It really drives home the point that being a musician and listening to music has so many benefits and builds character.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    Good intentions, some content was great, but overall it was ok.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    A clearer perspective This book is amazing! It breaks down and shows how our character is such an important tool that makes us as a musician.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Packman

    Really helped me in my undergrad as a music major. Very helpful book for those just starting out in their studies.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Thompson

    A reread from several years ago. Nothing really earth-shattering in content, although I did enjoy reading it. I think it would be a great book study with students.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Patrick O'Hannigan

    What makes this book fun is Barry Green's insistence that a musician's choice of primary instrument ultimately reflects his or her personality, and the different virtues necessary for musical mastery can be glimpsed in conversations with different musicians. It was instructive to hear how masters of different instruments cultivate attributes like joy, discipline, passion, and communication. On the other hand, the chapter on "tolerance" reads like politically correct treacle (short version: when y What makes this book fun is Barry Green's insistence that a musician's choice of primary instrument ultimately reflects his or her personality, and the different virtues necessary for musical mastery can be glimpsed in conversations with different musicians. It was instructive to hear how masters of different instruments cultivate attributes like joy, discipline, passion, and communication. On the other hand, the chapter on "tolerance" reads like politically correct treacle (short version: when you play with an ensemble, do not insist on always getting your own way). PC also rears its comical head whenever Green's interview subjects credit God for inspiration, as at least two of them do. In those cases, Green quotes them, but switches abruptly to mention of a less-controversial "higher power" or "Spirit of Music" when summarizing their remarks. Personally, I was not the least bit offended to learn that classical guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening seems well-versed in Christian scriptures and the practice of intercessory prayer. Green sometimes succumbs to name dropping, which is admittedly a hard temptation to avoid in a book of this kind. After awhile, I was numb to the fact that he talked with luminaries as diverse as Frederica ("Flicka") von Stade (legendary mezzo-soprano) and jazz trumpeter Clark Terry. Green is "connnected" -- we get that. How nice for him. Don't let Green's recurring (and sometimes annoying) patois about the "inner game" fool you. There are no "secrets" in this book. Musical mastery has to do with aptitude, it seems, but also and importantly with attitude, discipline, and personal integrity. Caveats aside, however, Green and his subjects say some good things, and the book is worth reading as a reminder to stay the musical course if you feel called to that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Will Harrison

    The best book I've read thus far on understanding the principles that form music & that allow those who stay the course with passion & devotion to master being a musician...I'm recommending this to all those I play music with :) I gained incalculably from the perspectives offered in this book & I'm sure to revisit it in later years to refresh my understanding of its wisdom - the road goes ever on :) The best book I've read thus far on understanding the principles that form music & that allow those who stay the course with passion & devotion to master being a musician...I'm recommending this to all those I play music with :) I gained incalculably from the perspectives offered in this book & I'm sure to revisit it in later years to refresh my understanding of its wisdom - the road goes ever on :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Kinsey

    At times, it seemed like a 300 page advertisement for The Inner Game of Music. At other times, it seemed like he was saying things that were so blatantly obvious, they had no place in a book. At other times, it seemed like he was repeating himself ad nauseum. Having said all this, it's still a good book and all musicians should probably read it. At times, it seemed like a 300 page advertisement for The Inner Game of Music. At other times, it seemed like he was saying things that were so blatantly obvious, they had no place in a book. At other times, it seemed like he was repeating himself ad nauseum. Having said all this, it's still a good book and all musicians should probably read it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jiemeiyi

    Loved it. Felt inspired not just for music but life and how to live it. Can see myself reaching for the book from time to time to re-read certain chapters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Absolutely loved this book. It's a wealth of knowledge and insight, and I found myself wanting to highlight entire pages at times. Highly recommend, definitely my top book of the year. Absolutely loved this book. It's a wealth of knowledge and insight, and I found myself wanting to highlight entire pages at times. Highly recommend, definitely my top book of the year.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aeshaire

    Insightful & interesting, took a while to get into.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Monticello

    I love this book. Lots of things to ponder. Some funny stories as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pete Bresciani

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin Welsh

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robert Matheson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Toni

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Pang

  23. 4 out of 5

    Splen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Wood

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barry

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emmet

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Saman

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deanna Ang

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