Reading Recommendations

General Wellness

“The Balanced Musician”
by Leslie Sisterhen MacAllister
Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 978-0810882935

A comprehensive resource book focusing on a broad spectrum of sports psychology approaches as applied to music disciplines, including visualization, biofeedback, meditation, yoga and stretching.

“The Mindful Musician: Mental Skills for Peak Performance”
by Vanessa Cornett
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-086461-3

Focusing on the idea of non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, Cornett gives practical advice and creative exercises to encourage flow in practice and playing and covers other important areas of self-care such as performance psychology, breathing awareness, yoga, Alexander Technique and creative imagery.

“The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance and Wellness”
by Gerald Klickstein
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-534312-0

Along with its companion website, this book by a former classical guitar professor offers practical advice on practice techniques and healthy approaches to performance. The author also develops a fairly comprehensive strategy for healing from and avoiding repetitive stress injury (RSI). 

Injury Prevention and Recovery

“Playing (Less) Hurt: An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians”
by Janet Horvath
Hal Leonard Books
ISBN 878-1-4234-8846-0

A fairly comprehensive, well-organized resource for a variety of physical issues relating to music performance. Helpful self-assessment charts for determining baseline pain, discomfort and anxiety levels.  

“Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s Guide to Playing Healthy”
by William Dawson
Rowman & Littlefield Education
ISBN 978-1-57886-684-7

A series of essays written by the president of the Performing Arts Medical Association, a physician and therapist specializing in musician’s injuries, treatment and rehabilitation. Gives an excellent overview of anatomy and biomechanics, as well as topics such as overuse syndrome, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trauma-related injury and recovery and rehabilitation protocols.

Body Awareness

“What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body: The Practical Application of Body Mapping to Music Making”
by Barbara Conable
Andover Press
ISBN 0-9622595-6-X

Barbara Conable is the founder and director of Andover Educators, an off-shoot of the Alexander Technique with specific emphasis on musician’s issues and the discipline known as body mapping. This postulates that our personal, mental imagery of the structure, size, interrelation and function of the bones and muscles in our body determines our actual movement. Therefore, identification and correction of “mis-mapping” can lead to almost instantaneous changes in function, resulting in fluid, balanced and free movement. 

“What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body”
by Thomas Mark
GIA Publications
ISBN 1-57999-206-4

Thomas Mark is a pianist and disciple of Barbara Conable, (see above) and his book utilizes her ideas in specific focus on piano (and organ) playing.  

Psychology of Performance

In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness”
by Richard Wolf
The Experiment Press
ISBN: 978-1615195350

Richard Wolf first tried Zen meditation in his teens, but no matter in what posture or for how long he sat, transcendence proved stubbornly out of reach. It was only years later that he found the bridge that could take him there: music. “In Tune” charts twelve bridges — skills and sensibilities refined in musical practice that carry over to mindfulness and meditation. This inspirational guide offers a wealth of music-based exercises to enhance daily meditation and creativity. Plus, Wolf shares personal anecdotes of eminent musicians — from Miles Davis to Dr. Dre — to illuminate points along the intersection of music and mindful living.

“The Musician’s Mind: Teaching, Learning, and Performance in the Age of Brain Science”
by Lynn Helding
Rowman & Littlefield Press
ISBN: 978-1538109953

Lynn Helding presents a symphony of discoveries that illuminate how musicians can optimize their mental wellbeing and cognitive abilities. More than an exploration of the brain, “The Musician’s Mind” is an inspiring call for artists to promote the cultivation of emotion and empathy as cornerstones of a civilized society.

“Playing Your Best When It Counts: Mental Skills for Musicians”
by Dr. Bill Moore
Playing Your Best Consulting
ISBN 978-0979287305

This guide to high performance explores themes such as connecting with your passion, staying focused, mental skills inventories, self-trust, self-confidence, self-coaching, positive performance mindsets, self-leadership, emotional and spiritual renewal. 

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