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The Musician's Way

A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness

Gerald Klickstein

Publication Date - September 2009

ISBN: 9780195343137

368 pages
6 1/8 X 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

A roadmap to artistic excellence for aspiring musicians, written by a veteran performer and educator.


In The Musician's Way, veteran performer and educator Gerald Klickstein combines the latest research with his 30 years of professional experience to provide aspiring musicians with a roadmap to artistic excellence. Part I, Artful Practice, describes strategies to interpret and memorize compositions, fuel motivation, collaborate, and more. Part II, Fearless Performance, lifts the lid on the hidden causes of nervousness and shows how musicians can become confident performers. Part III, Lifelong Creativity, surveys tactics to prevent music-related injuries and equips musicians to tap their own innate creativity. Written in a conversational style, The Musician's Way presents an inclusive system for all instrumentalists and vocalists to advance their musical abilities and succeed as performing artists.


  • Delivers inclusive information for improving practice, performance, and self-care skills
  • Written by a nationally known performer and educator, from one of America's top conservatories, with 30 years of experience teaching musicians to perform at professional levels
  • Unites current research findings with the author's applied expertise to provide practical strategies that musicians can promptly put to use
  • Introduces a comprehensive process for practicing music to stage-ready condition
  • Presents a groundbreaking method for overcoming performance anxiety
  • Supplies key guidelines for productive musical collaboration
  • Includes case histories of musicians who surmounted obstacles to artistic excellence, as well as inspiring quotations from elite performers

About the Author(s)

Gerald Klickstein (@klickstein) is a veteran performer and educator with more than 30 years of experience on the concert stage and in higher education. In July 2012, he was appointed Director of the Music Entrepreneurship and Career Center at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. From 1992-2012, he was a member of the distinguished artist-faculty of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His book The Musician's Way and its extensive website MusiciansWay.com have drawn global praise for their insightful handling of the issues that today's musicians face.


"One of the most important books on musicianship in recent decades." --Joseph Docksey, Director, Lamont School of Music, University of Denver

"I predict that The Musician's Way will be an instant classic. It is the most useful, comprehensive book I have ever read on developing the skills of a successful performer. Every music lover--student, professional, amateur, and teacher alike--should own this book." --Jeffrey Solow, Professor of Cello, Temple University; President, American String Teachers Association

"The entire music profession has received a great and much-needed gift from Gerald Klickstein. The Musician's Way is a landmark and essential guide for every serious musician."--Barbara Lister-Sink, Professor of Piano, Salem College; author, Freeing the Caged Bird DVD

"The Musician's Way is the brainchild of an experienced and insightful teacher who has thought long and hard about how musicians can maximize their artistic success while coping with the stresses of music making. In clear and engaging language, the author leads us down the complex pathways navigated by musicians and provides sound directions at every turn." --Alice G. Brandfonbrener, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Founding Director, Medical Program for Performing Artists, Northwestern University Medical School

"You owe it to yourself to read this book." --The Classical Guitar Blog

"A wonderful tool for all aspiring musicians." --Music Ed Magic

"A rare example of clear, concise and useable information on music practice...If I read a better book on practice this year I'll be surprised!!" --HowtoPractice.com

"The relationship of learning, practice, and mastery in the case of musicianship is explored thoroughly in Gerald Klickstein's The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness. Written for especially classical and jazz instrumentalists and vocalists at the university level, the book nevertheless provides important lessons for musicians of widely diverse levels and backgrounds." --John Warren, Juan's World

"Mr. Klickstein presents so much helpful information that you will be itching to sit at the piano with his book beside you while you practice....A tremendous resource that would benefit any music teacher." --MusicMattersBlog.com

"The Musician's Way is strongly recommended for its focus on mental imagery and the role of the mind in effective practice...A holistic approach to teaching, The Musician's Way should be on the shelf of every aspiring professional musician and every serious music educator." --Clavier Companion

"Klickstein covers the gamut of issues, tips, and ideas that make up the world of the serious musician....Students hunger for this kind of knowledge." --Notes

"Klickstein takes a common-sense approach and works his way through techniques for improving every aspect of a performer's life, from ways to memorise a piece to dealing with performance anxiety. . . . It's all very well thought through and an interesting read." --The Strad

"A comprehensive guidebook from an experienced, insightful musician....You must read this book." --Stringendo

"Wonderfully thought-out and organized...a book to keep around and to constantly refer back to as you develop as a musician...'The Musician's Way' is a book that will benefit any musician. He touches on aspects of all performers, from guitarists to violinists to drummers to vocalists, and has plenty of tips for everyone...Regardless of what instrument you play or how long you've been playing or what level of musician you consider yourself to be, you will find a tremendous amount of beneficial material in this book. I can't recommend it enough." --David Hodge, GuitarNoise.com

"Engaging and well-written and a valuable resource for every performer seeking to develop their craft and maintain career longevity." --Psychology of Music

"Provides a wealth of information that would otherwise take years to accrue." --British Journal of Music Education

"Articulates both an artistic approach to attaining mastery of an instrument/voice and a practical approach to achieving professional goals....Uniquely holistic." --Philosophy of Music Education Review

Table of Contents

    Part I: Artful Practice
    1. Getting Organized
    Artful Practice
    Defining Practice
    Creating a Practice Environment
    The Five Practice Zones
    Planning Your Practice
    Scheduling Practice Sessions
    Choosing New Material
    2. Practicing Deeply, I
    Practicing Deeply
    Habits of Excellence
    Essentials of Artistic Interpretation
    Mental Imaging
    Warming Up
    3. Practicing Deeply, II
    The Craftsmanship of Practice
    Starting New Material
    Managing Repetition
    Solving Problems
    4. Practicing Deeply, III
    Ripening Your Repertoire
    Taking Breaks
    Memorization Concepts
    Memorization Strategies
    5. Practicing Deeply, IV
    Building Technique
    Upgrading Musicianship
    Fueling Motivation
    Committing to the Creative Process
    6. Musical Collaboration
    Musical Collaboration
    Interacting in Rehearsal
    Correlating Solitary and Group Practice
    Igniting Synergy
    Forming a Musical Group
    Part II: Fearless Performance
    7. Unmasking Performance Anxiety
    Fearless Performance
    Unmasking Performance Anxiety
    The Basic Anxiety Equation
    Anxiety's Effects
    The Roots of Performance Anxiety
    Portraits of Anxious Performers
    Crafting Confidence
    8. Becoming a Performing Artist, I
    Becoming a Performing Artist
    The Heart of Performance
    The Five Facets of Preparation
    Preperformance Routines
    Backstage Techniques
    9. Becoming a Performing Artist, II
    Stage Deportment
    Shaping Your Stage Presence
    Starting and Ending
    Harnessing On-Stage Energy
    Connecting with an Audience
    10. Becoming a Performing Artist, III
    Dealing with Errors
    Postperformance Routines
    Practicing Performance
    Evaluating Your Progress
    11. Performing like a Pro
    Performing like a Pro
    The Peak-Performance Myth
    Designing Concert Programs
    Three Model Programs
    Creating a Preparation Timeline
    Auditions and Competitions
    The Recording Studio
    Part III: Lifelong Creativity
    12. Injury Prevention, I
    Lifelong Creativity
    Musicians and Injuries
    Causes of Injury
    Warning Signs and Responses
    Injury-Prevention Basics
    Recovering from Injury
    13. Injury Prevention, II
    Balanced Sitting and Standing
    Meeting Your Instrument
    Voice Care
    Hearing Conservation
    14. Succeeding as a Student
    Succeeding as a Student
    Student-Teacher Dynamics
    Appreciating Criticism
    Embracing Career Challenges
    Counteracting Substance Abuse
    Boosting Creativity
    Selected Bibliography

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