Review: Inspired Practice by Erica Sipes

Title: Inspired Practice
Author: Erica Sipes
Publisher: Blurb (self-published)
Released: July 12, 2013
Source: author

Synopsis (from author’s website):

The art of practicing is elusive for musicians young and old, students, amateurs, and professionals alike. But deliberate practice, practice that is supported with both the heart and mind, can be transformative, not only for the music but also for the musician. It teaches the rewards of persistence, faith, and discipline; it opens doors to a world of performing where joy and eagerness to share replaces anxiety.

This little book is meant to be a coffee table book for the practice room or the music studio. It is full of tips that Erica has discovered through many years of practicing and coaching others, in addition to quotes that regularly inspire her. Her hope is that it will be there for musicians when they most need inspiration and encouragement.

Erica Sipes is a pianist and cellist who “loves to help people figure out more efficient ways to practice, prepare for recitals, and to accomplish their musical goals, big and small.” If, like me, you are a musician who follows her blog and/or Twitter, you have likely been inspired by her posts and tweets, as well as her live practice sessions. (You guys, she livestreams her practice sessions! I can’t even begin to express how terrifying/admirable/awesome/encouraging that is!)

Inspired Practice brings Erica’s sources of inspiration and insights to us in book form. This is basically a book of quotations: from major composers, philosophers, artists, as well as Erica’s own words of wisdom. Each quote or thought is paired with a relevant photograph on the facing page. The stock photographs are attractive and carefully chosen. The point below is one of my favorites; one which my percussionist husband and I constantly remind our students:

I read the PDF version on my Nook HD, and it looked sharp. You can flip through more sample pages on Blurb. I started highlighting my favorite quotes, but had to stop when I realized I was basically highlighting the entire book! Even we professionals need to be reminded of statements such as: “Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your respose later on” (Frederic Chopin).

Inspired Practice is perfect for the practice room, where a boost is inevitably welcome; the waiting area of a music studio, for students to flip through; as well as a fantastic gift for a dedicated music student of any level.

You can visit Erica Sipes at her blog, Beyond the Notes or, if you could use some help with practicing, learning music, or planning for a recital (in person or via Skype), check out Beyond the Notes Coaching.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. A review was not requested or expected; I did not receive any compensation for this honest review.