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Book Review

The Musician's Lifeline: Advice for All Musicians, Student to Professional

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The Musician's Lifeline: Advice for All Musicians, Student to Professional
Peter Erskine & Dave Black
191 Pages
ISBN: # 978-1-4706-4247-1 (13)
Alfred Music
2019

Peter Erskine and Dave Black are both drummers: their previous collaboration was The Drummer's Lifeline: Quick Fixes, Hacks, and Tips of the Trade (Alfred Music, 2017). For this book they wanted to build on that success, but since it is intended for all musicians, they worked to bring other, non-drumming voices into the mix. So they invited over 150 musicians and educators to participate. They all answered seven basic questions, and their answers appear throughout the book. There are eleven Sections, each dealing with a different aspect of the musician's life. It is as much a source book as a guidebook: while it can be read straight through, it can also be approached by reading any relevant section, in any order. The authors hope that it will prove useful again and again.

The topics are: How To Play Better (including attitude, warm-ups and sight-reading advice); Practice; Auditions (for a professional job and for school or college); Performance Tips (including dealing with performance anxiety); Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle (travel tips); The Business of Music (ranging from networking, using social media, and negotiation to music copyrights); Sound Advice (people skills); From A Teacher's Perspective (transcription and other topics); Non-Performance Careers In Music (the value of a college degree, creating a music industry resume, interviewing, and submitting a manuscript for publication consideration); The World's Greatest Advice; and In Their Own Words...More Advice From The Pros.

Some of the topics feature practical illustrations like sample resumes and copyright forms (as well as URLs to access information online). There is also a brief glossary of musical terms and a short list of recommended books. But the bulk of the book really is advice (the last two sections are basically a way of getting in all of the good quotes that had not been used already) and stories about the musical life. There is inevitably a lot of duplication there, as well as occasionally contradictory advice. In that regard the book may indeed work best as a reference book to refer to as needed. But there is no doubt that there is vast professional experience represented here, and it is easy to get hooked reading one nugget of advice after another.

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