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4.5 out of 5 stars24
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2014
I think this is one of the best books for focusing your thoughts and concentrating yourself before get yourself in training, studying or playing an instrument. You can read this book whatever instrument or genre you study/play but it is a little more specialize for piano in jazz music, as Kenny Werner is a jazz piano player.
The book has a lot of repetitions, for what it takes to some people really realize what it is needed but personally sometimes it gets a little boring and goes into mentalization stuff that I'm not really interested, as also the CD does.
By reading a book about how to get your mind prepared before training or playing you have to realize what to do, what to think, where to concentrate and what to avoid. This is well analyzed and explained in depth.
In headline, if you want to learn something you have to focus on one tiny thing/idea and learn that in the higher level possible (mastery). You will need to train yourself (mind, hands, etc) as long as you can play this thing without any thinking, without any effort (effortless). You will then recall that in almost any time of your life and you will be always ready to go another right step forward.
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on 1 May 2001
Reading this book has been something of a revelation for me. I had long suspected some kind of similarity between jazz music and spiritual nectar (!) and was jubilant to find a book I agreed with so much. There is a real sense of discovery in Kenny's writing which not only discusses what makes jazz and players such as Coltrane and Davis great, but also provides you with attitudes and meditations (on the CD) which could help you to realize that same potential which we all have within ourselves, without having to take heroin or LSD!
I imagine that this book could be a breakthrough read for many players who have either never persevered with their music through frustration or fear, or who feel they have reached an impasse and seek inspiration.
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on 9 November 2014
I found this book revelatory, inspiring and timely. Werner is right when is says the exercises are simple, but their practice is difficult, yet the result IS attainable. He is also right in chiding, what has one got to lose by practicing this method? Towards the end, a chapter deals with ridding one of the excuses that prevent one from putting in the time and effort required to acknowledge one's potential, which was a welcome addition that highlighted the reality of the task to be embarked on.

Reading it through once should be enough to whet your appetite and put you on the road to fulfilment.
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on 26 April 2012
This book is certainly a must read for all musicians (teachers and performers) especially those who experience psychological barriers to their playing.

It can be opened at any chapter (indeed any page)and instantly engage the reader.

I have found it to be an invaluable resource and many of my students have benefited from its store of practical advice and encouragement.
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on 6 May 2012
This is a passionate book by an excellent jazz musician with a long list of top recording credits. It is full of useful details and insights that a fellow musician will identify immediately with. It's an interesting read and it all makes perfect sense. It is not as complete in what it covers as other books for musicians like the Inner Game of Music or Secrets of Performing Confidence, but it doesn't need to be. What it does it does very well - an informed advocacy of a Zen attitude to performance. It is in the whole tradition of the Inner Game and a variety of readings on Zen in proposing a peak performance state in which there is no ego and a maximum of natural awareness. As with Flow, it sees mastery as the basis of effortless performance and gives useful strategies for making practising rewarding and relaxing. A number of professionals and teachers already use, recommend and benefit from this book, and it deserves to be on the shelf of any serious musician.
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on 16 December 2014
This book can change your life! It describes every problem that I have with paying music and offers an actual solution. I've only just started applying it but I can already see a change. Wish I'd read it earlier!
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on 28 January 2014
If you are at the dawn of your musical education,you should read aside this great work.It will help you understand different meanings and aspects of how somebody shall be effective in music.It's not only the technique,the studying,the understanding of music.You have to learn the peaceful co-existence of music and other problems in life.And also be effective as a result in between daily problems.Just relax and enjoy the ride.No need to frustrate for your skills.Some things take time.
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on 20 December 2010
Kenny Werner was a musical prodigy and performed effortlessly from a very early age. Despite this he has great empathy and insight into the problems that all performers face. We all struggle to get the notes perfect every time, and to impress our audiences. And at the same time we forget the magic of music itself.
This book offers a psychological method to overcome self-consciousness, and forget the self. What is important is that the music speaks. Kenny has produced a method and a CD, which I am finding very effective in helping me meet all those typical psychological blocking ploys that prevent me and so many other musicians produce the best we are capable of.
Don't throw your violin in the sea from frustration! Don't pass on paralysing habits to your pupils. Try reading Kenny's book, listening to his powerful CD, and gain insight as to how deal with these problems. You are not alone in struggling, and this method has a lot to offer.
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on 7 February 2014
At last, I am beginning to find answers to the many, many questions that have eluded me for years and years. I am totally stoked!
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on 29 September 2002
An interesting read.
My enthusiasm for this book goes up and down.Does it really work ?I don't know but it's a pleasure trying to find out.The main message seems to be develop your technique and then allow your inner self/ subconscious to take over and this certainly fits with current theoies of neurology e.g. Deborah Bull- the dancing body
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