In Mastering the Art of Performance: A Primer for Musicians, 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.