Thursday, August 05, 2010

Last week, I finished The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green and W. Timothy Gallwey.

I picked up this book after it was recommended by Andy Falco, guitar player for The Infamous Stringdusters, during the 2010 CBA Music Camp.  I was his assistant at camp and found his approach to music very interesting.

The Inner Game of Music is an adaptation by Barry Green of Timothy Gallwey's Inner Game concept, targeted towards music.  The core idea of the inner game postulates two parts of consciousness, "self 1" and "self 2".  "Self 1" is more of the conscious questioning mind, while "self 2" is the un-conscious mind that does the actual work of executing a given task.  Once a task is learned, "self 1" doesn't add anything to the execution of that task and, in fact, only undermines the execution. 

Based on that theory, the rest of the book is about how to get "self 1" out of the way so that "self 2" can do its best. 

The basic theory is interesting, and does match some of my own experiences in practice.  Based on that, I've started to use some of the exercises from the book in my own playing and I'm considering buying a copy of the book for my own reference.

The book isn't perfect, though - first, the examples in the book are all based around a classical style of music.  More examples based on more improvisational and pop styles (jazz, bluegrass, country, rock) would be helpful.  Second, there is a lot of fluff in the book - lots of anecdotal info, repeated text and 70's style self-help blather than is a pain to read through to extract the meat.  But the bottom line is that the meat of the book is very interesting, and possibly useful for anyone with musical ambitions.

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