With so many great books available on every aspect of music, it can be hard to know what to choose. Fortunately, our VCM Library staff members have some reading recommendations if you’re an amateur musician looking to improve your skills and expand your knowledge.
All of these books are available at the VCM library, along with over 70,000 other titles for the use of faculty and registered students. Resources also include music for all instruments, reference materials and books on music, including biographies, theory and history. Plus, there is an extensive collection of CDs and DVDs that can be borrowed if you want to groove to something new.
Reading Recommendation #1: Making Music for the Joy of It: Enhancing Creativity, Skills, and Musical Confidence by Stephanie Judy
Starting from the belief that we all have musical ability, Judy challenges popular assumptions about musicality and shows how to remove self-limiting beliefs and avoid frustrations as you discover and express the musician within, whether you want to play classical, jazz, pop, be-bob, old time, or new wave.
Reading Recommendation #2: Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice by Sharan B. Merriam and Laura L. Biereman
Solidly grounded in theory and research, but concise and practice-oriented, this book is perfect for master’s level students and practitioners alike. The content covers:
- Adult Learning in Today’s World
- Traditional Learning Theories
- Self-Directed Learning
- Transformative Learning
- Experience and Learning
- Body and Spirit in Learning
- Motivation and Learning
- The Brain and Cognitive Functioning
- Adult Learning in the Digital Age
- Critical Thinking and Critical Perspectives
- Culture and Context
Recommendation #3: The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music From the Heart by Deline Bruser and Yehudi Menuhin
In an attempt to address the basic aspects of practicing and interpreting, this book includes both the physical and the spiritual. Instructions are given for stretching exercises to relax and flex the body and for meditation to prepare the mind, often addressing both physical and interpretive problems through a combination of both approaches.
Recommendation #4: The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music by W.A. Mathieu
The Listening Book is about rediscovering the power of listening as an instrument of self-discovery and personal transformation. By exploring our capacity for listening to sounds and for making music, we can awaken and release our full creative powers. Mathieu offers suggestions and encouragement on many aspects of music-making, and provides playful exercises to help readers appreciate the connection between sound, music, and everyday life.
Recommendation #5: The Breathing Gym by Sam Pilafian
This book will guide any wind or vocal performer through exercises designed to enhance performance skills through physical conditioning that focuses on breathing. Stretches, flow studies, breathing patterns, and strength and flexibility exercises are all presented in a fun, clear format that would work equally well in a private lesson situation or group rehearsal setting.
The VCM Library is located at 920 Johnson Street in the Commercial Business Building, just to the right of VCM’s main building and is open all summer from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.