Do you need to get your mind into the game in the right way to use your creative gifts? This book list is for you.
A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances – Eloise Ristad
A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances
In this book, Eloise Ristad deals with complex problems which torment and cripple so many of our most creative and talented people, and she does so with compassion, wisdom, and wit. The problem of stage fright, for instance, is a suffering of epidemic proportions in our society, and involves modalities of thought and projections that rob spontaneity and enthusiasm in artistic performance.
Those interested in creative education have long felt that an entirely new, holistic and nurturing process of allowing individuals to discover and express themselves is needed if our educational system is to avoid the neuroses and creative blocks of the past generation. This book illuminates through its conversational style the destructive inhibitions, fears, and guilt experienced by all of us as we fail to break through to creativity. This story is evident on a daily basis in conservatories and college campuses around the world.
But what is important, A Soprano on Her Head supplies answers and methods for overcoming these universal psychological blocks–methods that have not only been proven in her own studio, but which trace back through history to the oldest and wisest systems of understanding the integration of mind and body. The work bears scrutiny both scientifically and holistically. This book is available from Amazon.
Audition Success – Don Greene
This book presents a groundbreaking method that has already made Don Greene one of the country’s leading audition trainers. Combining specially designed self-tests and real-life examples from the careers of two performers, Audition Success will help performers understand what prevents them from nailing an audition and give them the tools to reach their goals. The book consists of transcriptions of actual sessions with musicians preparing for important auditions. It is available from Amazon and as an E-Book from the website listed below.
Change the World : How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Results – Robert E. Quinn
Change the World : How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Results
The idea that inner change makes outer change possible has always been part of spiritual and psychological teachings. But, until now, it’s an idea that hasn’t usually been addressed in leadership and management training. With this book, Robert E. Quinn turns this idea into an action guide for organization leaders, managers, parents, and everyone else who wants to make a difference.
Change the World presents eight principles that each of us can follow to make individual and organizational change happen: envision the productive community; first look within; embrace the hypocritical self; transcend fear; embody a vision of the common good; disturb the system; surrender to the emergent process; and entice through moral power. These are principles inspired by the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.— three historical leaders who successfully used personal change to change the world.
Quinn introduces each principle with inspiring quotations from those three leaders. He then uses stories from everyday life to demonstrate how ordinary people can learn to apply themselves in extraordinary ways. Every thought-provoking chapter is imbued with ideas and information that can help us step out of our old roles, approach the world with a sense of enlightenment and adventure, and live a more empowered and empowering life.
Creative Habit (The): Learn It and Use It for Life – Twyla Tharp
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
Creativity, says award-winning director/choreographer Twyla Tharp, is not restricted to artists: anyone can harness and replenish creativity with routine and discipline. Forget “natural genius.” Good work habits and preparation for creativity, complete with rituals, whether they be playing music while painting or carrying one’s coffee outdoors to write, are the keys to maximizing creative potential, not only for artistic expression but also for problem solving, being innovative at work, and good parenting. A working environment that is habit-forming is the goal, Tharp continues, one that fits your “creative DNA,” that which innately makes up your particular “focal length,” the pull between involvement and detachment. In an age of multitasking, Tharp urges readers to give up “distraction.” This is a multifaceted resource complete with exercises (written, visual, and physical), questionnaires, and interesting anecdotes that’s sure to win Tharp many new fans, as much for her obvious talent as a self-help guru as for her own extraordinary creativity.
All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career.
In “Where’s Your Pencil?” Tharp reminds you to observe the world — and get it down on paper. In “Coins and Chaos,” she gives you an easy way to restore order and peace. In “Do a Verb,” she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In “Build a Bridge to the Next Day,” she shows you how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight.
Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin.
Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within – Kenny Werner
Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within
This is a book for any musician who finds themselves having reached a plateau in their development. Werner, a masterful jazz pianist in his own right, uses his own life story and experiences to explore the barriers to creativity and mastery of music, and in the process reveals that “Mastery is available to everyone,” providing practical, detailed ways to move towards greater confidence and proficiency in any endeavor. While Werner is a musician, the concepts presented are for every profession or life-style where there is a need for free-flowing, effortless thinking. Book also includes an audio CD of meditations narrated by Kenny to help the musician reach a place of relaxed focus. This book is available from the website listed below as well as from Amazon.
Everyday Work of Art (The): Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life – Eric Booth
The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life
A Book of the Month Club Selection, and winner of the Broadway Theatre Institute and Benjamin Franklin awards, this book has earned a wide, varied and passionate following in the arts, education, business, and spiritual communities. Its wide appeal springs from its unique and powerful redefinition of art. This is more than the “nouns” of art that fill museums and concert halls. This is the art in which all people engage in bits and pieces throughout the day whenever we use the same “verbs” of art that artists use. The Everyday Work of Art illuminates the artistry we all practice, and it enables us to reclaim the fun and satisfaction that is already happening unnoticed right under our noses. Discover why Yo-Yo Ma calls this book “a joy to read” and why critics, celebrities, artists, educators, philosophers, students and parents have become enthusiastic readers and practitioners of The Everyday Work of Art. This book is available from Amazon.
Fight Your Fear and Win: Seven Skills for Performing Your Best Under Pressure… – Don Greene
Fight Your Fear and Win: Seven Skills for Performing Your Best Under Pressure–At Work, In Sports, On Stage
We’ve all been there: that make-it-or-break-it moment of our careers – on the brink of a deal, poised at the starting gate, under the spotlight waiting to speak or perform in front of our peers. At this point, where everything seems to be on the line, most of us experience one overriding reaction-fear-and this fear can have negative physical, mental, and emotional consequences on how well we do our job.
Don Greene, Ph.D., a renowned sports psychologist, teacher at the Juilliard School, and “stress” coach to top executives and entertainers, has spent decades studying fear and its effect on performance. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Greene shares the proven techniques he has used with Olympic athletes, Grand Prix drivers, the Vail Ski School, Golf Digest Schools, the New World Symphony, and Merrill Lynch traders to help them perform their best under pressure.
In his years of working with Olympic and professional athletes, network news anchors, classical musicians, actors, dancers, trial attorneys, brokers, and CEOs, Dr. Greene discovered that there were certain commonalities in people’s responses to high-pressure situations. Untrained, these individuals’ reactions were allowing fear to take over and affect decision-making, poise, and display of skill. But Dr. Greene found that by applying methods such as the centering technique, these same people could work through their fear and perform better than ever before.
Fight Your Fear and Win begins with a self-assessment performance survey that will allow you to pinpoint your own reactions to stress: how you handle distractions, how you are affected by nervousness, your mental outlook, your response to fear, and your ability to bounce back from failure. After completing this self-assessment, the book takes you through the seven essential skills required for optimal performance:
Interspersed with true stories from Greene’s wide variety of experiences training everyone from the San Diego S.W.A.T. team to singers at the Metropolitan Opera, each chapter includes a series of mental and physical exercises that will help you track your progress. This simple twenty-one-day plan will make a profound difference in the way you approach challenging situations, and allow you to think more clearly and creatively under pressure. Whether you are giving a closing argument in a courtroom, making a presentation at work, auditioning for a role, or stepping up to the first tee, Fight Your Fear and Win is the ultimate tool to conquering your fear and achieving success when you need it most. This book is available from Amazon.
Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art – Stephen Nachmanovitch
Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art
This book is directed toward people in any field who want to contact, honor, and strengthen their own creative powers. It integrates material from a wide variety of sources among the arts, sciences, and spiritual traditions of humanity. Filled with unusual quotes, amusing and illuminating anecdotes, and original metaphors, it reveals how inspiration arises within us, how that inspiration may be blocked, derailed or obscured by certain unavoidable facts of life, and how finally it can be liberated – how we can be liberated – to speak or sing, write or paint, dance or play, with our own authentic voice.This book is about the inner sources of spontaneous creation. It is about where art in the widest sense comes from. It is about why we create and what we learn when we do. It is about the flow of unhindered creative energy: the joy of making art in all its varied forms. The whole enterprise of improvisation in life and art, of recovering free play and awakening creativity, is about being true to ourselves and our visions. It brings us into direct, active contact with boundless creative energies that we may not even know we had. This book is available from Amazon.
Inner Game of Music (The) – Barry Green and W. Timothy Gallwey
The Inner Game of Music
The Inner Game of music is that which takes place in the mind, played against such elusive opponents as nervousness, self doubt, and fear of failure. Using the same principles of “natural learning” Timothy Gallwey developed so successfully for tennis, golf and skiing and applying them to his own field, noted musician Barry Green shows how to acknowledge and overcome these internal obstacles in order to bring a new quality to the experience and learning of music. And for those who don’t play an instrument but who feel their appreciation of music will be enhanced if they understand more about the process of playing, this book is Ideal.
In precise, easy to understand language, Green and Gallwey explain how natural skills can be nurtured and enhanced, and through a series of special exercises they demonstrate the ways in which musicians can achieve exact intonation, artistic phrasing, and improved technique.
There are also chapters on ensemble playing, improvisation, composition and creativity, and listening skills – an essential part of the Inner Game – are discussed throughout.
A methodology with a proven track record, The Inner Game of Music will be invaluable to anyone seriously interested in music, whether professional or amateur, composer,performer, or simply an appreciative listener. More information is available from the website listed below, and the book can be ordered from Amazon.
Inner Game of Tennis (The): The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of… – W. Timothy Gallwey
The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance
The Inner Game of Tennis is a revolutionary program for overcoming the self-doubt, nervousness, and lapses of concentration that can keep a player from winning. Now available in a revised paperback edition, this classic bestseller can change the way the game of tennis is played.
A phenomenon when first published in 1972, The Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that, as Gallwey wrote, “Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game.” The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety. Gallwey’s revolutionary thinking, built on a foundation of Zen thinking and humanistic psychology, was really a primer on how to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge.
Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives – Christopher Gergen
Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives
This book is intended for a wide-ranging audience, including: emerging leaders and budding entrepreneurs; those interested in entrepreneurial leadership, personal development, and community-building; and those contemplating or experiencing a life change, facing a challenge or crisis, or starting to think about their legacy. It is for those who are achieving success in work but have lost their way in life. It is for those who know they could be getting more out of life but aren’t sure how—as well as for those who are already living a good life but want it to be great.
A new type of leader is emerging: people who apply their vision, talents, creativity, and energy not only to their work but to their entire lives, changing the world for themselves and those around them. These people are not just living their lives-they’re leading them. Welcome to the territory of life entrepreneurs.
In this book, successful entrepreneurs Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek draw on interviews with fifty-five leading entrepreneurs worldwide as well as on the wisdom of multiple thought leaders to provide practical strategies, concrete frameworks, vivid examples, and moving vignettes for leading a life of adventure, service, and purpose.
Today, people are looking for opportunity, challenge, and the chance to develop their talents, achieve success, and make an impact. But they are also looking for a rich home life, rewarding friendships, an active lifestyle, and deeper fulfillment. Life entrepreneurs are able to thrive in all these realms by proactively taking the following steps:
- Discovering core identity
- Awakening to opportunity
- Envisioning the future
- Developing goals and strategies
- Building healthy support systems
- Taking action and making a difference
- Embracing renewal and reinvention
Life Entrepreneurs is filled with inspiring stories and practical strategies for integrating life, work, and purpose, and captures the implications of today’s entrepreneurial boom for our workplaces, learning institutions, communities, and families. More information on this book and its authors can be found at the website listed below. The book is available from Amazon.
Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger – Bill Strickland
Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary
Bill Strickland says “Success is the point where your most authentic talents, passion, values, and experiences intersect with the chance to contribute to some greater good.” Strickland believes that every one of us has the potential for remarkable achievement. Every one of us can accomplish the impossible in our lives if given the right inspiration and motivation to do so. Through lessons from his own life experiences, and those of countless others who have overcome their circumstances and turned their lives around, Make the Impossible Possible shows how all of us can build on our passions and strengths, dream bigger and set the bar higher, achieve meaningful success and help mentor and inspire the lives of others. This book is available through the website listed below as well as from Amazon.
Mastering the Art of Performance: A Primer for Musicians – Stewart Gordon
Mastering the Art of Performance: A Primer for Musicians
In this book, Stewart Gordon offers seasoned advice to musicians intent on meeting the challenges of performance. Through real-life examples and pre-performance exercises, this accessible manual gives musicians and other performers practical insights into every aspect of performance. While other books merely identify and describe the problems associated with performance, this book offers detailed suggestions for solving them. First, Gordon tackles the critical planning and preparatory stages, helping performers to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. The book’s easy-to-follow exercises address the self-doubt and anxiety many musicians contend with, helping them to analyze why they perform, set goals and assess the level of energy needed to achieve them, and develop a performance philosophy. The book also offers techniques that will help musicians deal with some of the classic pitfalls of performance preparation, including repetition and drill, changing bad habits, and developing memory. For the performance itself, Gordon’s insights help musicians with pacing and managing stage fright. For the aftermath, Gordon arms performers with strategies for dealing with criticism and conducting a constructive self-evaluation, equipping them to face the challenges of a lifetime of performances, including career plateaus and burnout. Gordon draws from more than forty years of experience in front of audiences to offer readers invaluable tips and personal reflections. While aimed primarily at musicians, the book will be useful to anyone facing the pressures of performance, such as actors, dancers, and even public speakers. This book is available from Amazon, and more information on the author can be found at the website listed below.
Mastery of Music (The): Ten Pathways to True Artistry – Barry Green
The Mastery of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry
In his follow-up to The Inner Game of Music, which sought to teach musicians how to overcome mental barriers to inspired playing, bassist Barry Green defines ten qualities that offer a “pathway to true artistry”: communication, courage, discipline, fun, passion, tolerance, concentration, confidence, ego/humility and creativity. “When you develop these qualities to a high level,” he says, “you have achieved mastery not only of your instrument and your concentration, but of who you are and how you present yourself to others.” Each “path” receives its own chapter of inspirational anecdotes and advice, and each is exemplified by a certain instrument or type of musician. For example, French horn and percussion, instruments that “just get one chance” and have “nowhere to hide,” illustrate the importance of courage; violas, who sit literally and musically between violins and cellos, represent tolerance; and duos, chamber groups and conductors symbolize the value of communication. Dozens of respected musicians, from Leonard Bernstein to members of the Harlem Boys Choir, share anecdotes about coping with stress, prioritizing, self-acceptance, preparation, concentration, focus and other life-skills. Along with general, inspirational advice for living and playing well, the book also makes valuable specific recommendations (e.g., the benefits of practicing slowly, establishing personal boundaries, visualization exercises, etc.). While the book’s gimmick may seem overworked at first, the author is so knowledgeable and sincere that his volume should appeal to musicians and music lovers of all stripes. This book is available from Amazon, and more information can be found at the website listed below.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Mindset is “an established set of attitudes held by someone,” says the Oxford American Dictionary. It turns out, however, that a set of attitudes needn’t be so set, according to Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford. Dweck proposes that everyone has either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is one in which you view your talents and abilities as… well, fixed. In other words, you are who you are, your intelligence and talents are fixed, and your fate is to go through life avoiding challenge and failure. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is one in which you see yourself as fluid, a work in progress. Your fate is one of growth and opportunity. Which mindset do you possess? Dweck provides a checklist to assess yourself and shows how a particular mindset can affect all areas of your life, from business to sports and love. The good news, says Dweck, is that mindsets are not set: at any time, you can learn to use a growth mindset to achieve success and happiness. This is a serious, practical book. Dweck’s overall assertion that rigid thinking benefits no one, least of all yourself, and that a change of mind is always possible, is welcome. This book is available from Amazon, and much more information can be found at the website listed below.
Notes from the Green Room: Coping With Stress and Anxiety in Musical Performance – Paul G. Salmon
Notes from the Green Room: Coping With Stress and Anxiety in Musical Performance
Perfect Wrong Note – Learning to Trust Your Musical Self – William Westney
Perfect Wrong Note – Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
In this groundbreaking book, prize-winning pianist and noted educator William Westney explores some important paradoxes about making music. Playing a wrong note can be a perfect event: constructive, useful, even enlightening. Misplaced perfectionism, in contrast, can hamper learning and rob us of the fulfillment and transcendent enjoyment that music can bring.
Drawing on insight, experience, and wisdom ancient and modern, Westney lays out healthy alternatives for lifelong learning and suggests significant change in the way music is taught. Teachers, professionals, and advanced students of any instrument, as well as parents and music lovers of all ages, will find hope and inspiration in this wise teacher’s practical, clear guidance.
Westney’s approach makes eminent sense. Imagine a child’s natural, joyful immersion in the musical moment. Then consider the loss of that spontaneity that too often results from formal music lessons. But this needn’t be the case if we rethink what happens, and what can happen, in the practice room, in performance, and in music lessons.
The energetic creator of the acclaimed Un-Master Class® also looks beyond the individual lesson to the special potential of group work. He outlines the basics of the revelatory workshop that has transformed the music experience for participants the world over. The goal: to bring artistic vitality, self-trust, and confidence within everyone’s reach. This book is available from Amazon, and much more information about the author is available at the website listed below.
Purpose of Your Life (The): Finding Your Place In The World Using… – Carol Adrienne
The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place In The World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, And Uncommon Sense
Everyone really has a purpose in life, says Carol Adrienne in her new guide to harnessing the power inside yourself. The question is: How do you learn to go with the flow and let your true nature guide you?
Chapter by chapter, The Purpose of Your Life explains how to locate the source of your innate energy and focus it, how to align yourself with the natural forces that swirl around us always, and how to develop the intuition that fosters synchronicity. The book is packed with illuminating anecdotes and profiles of fascinating people — from artists to urban planners to Zen masters — who describe how they found their own purposes. There are practical exercises throughout, along with charts, self-questionnaires, and other tools that help you understand yourself and your deepest aspirations.
As you learn to recognize and trust the voice of intuition, you’ll find new doors opening and new possibilities everywhere. You’ll feel invigorated by the potential you’ve unleashed, a power that will only grow with each new accomplishment. And you’ll discover the serenity and satisfaction that come only to those who are living life to the fullest. The Force is with you — all you have to do is reach out and start to use it. This book is available from Amazon.
Stage Fright in Music Performance and Its Relationship to the Unconscious – Michael I. Goode
Stage Fright in Music Performance and Its Relationship to the Unconscious
There are both positive and negative aspects of the role of the unconscious in the performance of music, drama, dance, courtroom work, athletics or any other field. The positive aspects result in a joyous, memorable performance, and the negative aspects result in a disastrous, uncomfortable experience for both the audience, and even more so, for the performer. When performers cannot display their talent to their highest level of ability in front of an audience, it is most likely that they are suffering from performance anxiety, more commonly known as stage fright.
There are underlying psychological reasons for the condition of stage fright and its potentially devastating effects. These reasons can also be described in physiological and biochemical terms. We will discuss present medical and other solutions to this problem.
All of the case histories found in this book are composites derived from many performers in the field of music including those in the operatic and vocal field. Any resemblance to any one particular living or deceased individual is unintended and is purely coincidental.
The book also gives examples of great performers from the orchestral world, who had no stage fright at all, particularly the legendary members of the Chicago Symphony Brass Section, led by Adolph Herseth and including Arnold Jacobs, as well as William Scarlett. The fact that these great performers had no stage fright whatsoever is analyzed and examined.
Included in this work are color photos, other illustrations, an index, a glossary of helpful terms, and an extensive bibliography of all the sources used to research this text.
Although this book uses examples from the field of classical music, the concepts presented within are useful to anyone who has suffered from, or is interested in, the phenomenon of stage fright. This book is available from Amazon.
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us – Seth Godin
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.
Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they’re enabling countless new tribes to be born-groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.
And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?
The Web can do amazing things, but it can’t provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals- people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.
If you think leadership is for other people, think again-leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma leads a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, runs her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle. All they have in common is the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.
If you ignore this opportunity, you risk turning into a “sheepwalker”-someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don’t do very well these days.
Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers. . . . It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you think. This book is available from Amazon.
Winning Job Interviews: Reduce Interview Anxiety, Outprepare the Other … – Paul Powers
Winning Job Interviews: Reduce Interview Anxiety / Outprepare the Other Candidates / Land the Job You Love
In this easy-to-follow, step-by-step book, author, psychologist, and career expert Dr. Paul Powers shows job hunters how to find and land a job they love. Winning Job Interviews demystifies job interviewing, explains why the process actually favors the job hunter, and shows how you can dramatically improve your interviewing success. This book is packed with insider tips Dr. Paul has learned from over 20 years of working with job hunters, career changers, employment managers, outplacement specialists, and executive recruiters. You will learn how to:
- Overcome the “deadly dozen” roadblocks to effective job hunting
- Out-prepare your competition
- Predict 90% of the questions you’ll be asked
- Always have a fail-safe answer for even the toughest question
- Use time-tested, super sales techniques to subtly pave the road to the job offer you want
Packed with solid, practical information and laced with both humor and “kick in the pants” motivation, Winning Job Interviews is the book you wished you had before your last interview. This book is available from Amazon.
About Lisa Canning
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