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To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us
the "friendly revolution" for musicians, by
James Boyk

André Watts: "a treasure-trove... should be required reading."
The Piano Education Page: "Bravo for this little gem of a book."
Piano & Keyboard: "Useful, cheerful, inspirational, thought-provoking."
Whole Earth Review: "If I were giving instrument lessons, I'd buy this thing by the case."

Order by phone
from the publisher, MMB Music,
(800) 543-3771.
($9.95 plus S&H; ISBN 0-918812-87-9.)

See below for Description, further quotes & reviews, table of contents, From Deep Inside.

 

Graduate seminar at Longy School
James Boyk introducing To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us to a Graduate Seminar at Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Mass.

 
Description
This little volume by concert pianist James Boyk is several books in one.

For musicians of all instruments and ages, it is a complete guide to using tape recording as a tool in practicing, teaching and preparing for performance. Following Boyk's tested wisdom, musicians will hear themselves more objectively, work more efficiently, and play more expressively.

It is also an easy-to-understand guide to microphones and other recording gear, with specific equipment recommendations, all from a recognized expert. (Boyk is a recording engineer/producer, audio reviewer, and directs the Music Lab at California Institute of Technology.)

The book's many amusing anecdotes and poetic reflections make it a reading delight.

James Boyk conducts a discussion group for readers, and also gives readers access to his reviews of audio equipment for musicians. (The reviews are password-protected with a password in your copy of To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us. If you already have the book, see the review of what JB calls "the first digital recording system I can recommend.") Boyk is internationally recognized as an expert on audio equipment, and has consulted with famous record labels and major audio equipment manufacturers. (Equipment reviews are free at this writing--May, 2000. In the future, a charge may be made for access, because reviews of this uniquely high quality are extremely expensive to carry out.)

Please note! The exercises in the book are simple, but they are subtle! A lot of the book's teaching is expressed not in words but via the actions of the exercises. Many people take the exercises to be vague examples of what one might do with recording. This is not the case! They are highly-evolved, very specific activities that will produce striking results in just a few weeks, if one works in good faith.

 
Order by phone from the publisher, MMB Music, (800) 543-3771. ($9.95 plus S&H; ISBN 0-918812-87-9.)

 
See below for Quotes & Reviews, Contents, and From Deep Inside.

Working with Ms. Jee Yeon Yim
Working with graduate student Ms. Jee Yeon Yim at Longy

 
Quotes and Reviews
Yehudi Menuhin:
"Valuable to both teacher and student."

André Watts:
"a treasure-trove of information, advice and entertaining musical insights for both amateur and professional musicians. James Boyk's enthusiastic philosophy for musical excellence is contagious, and should be required reading for all lovers of music."

Dr. Stewart Gordon, Head of Keyboard Studies, University of Southern California:
"Valuable information, presented in an engaging, readable style."

Dr. William Conable, 'cellist & conductor, Head of Keyboard/Strings Faculty, Ohio State University:
"Wise, witty, fascinating and useful. A must read for musicians of all ages."

Dr. Bradford Gowen, Piano & Keyboard:
"All 'how to' books should be like this one: useful, cheerful, inspirational, thought-provoking, and so complete and clear as to be more than user-friendly indeed, user-solicitous. ... Boyk has the temperament to be both mechanical and artistic, and the wisdom to see both paths in the service of the same goal."

Steve Taylor, Whole Earth Review, Winter, 1997-98:
"Don't have a hundred dollars for an hour with a top-notch music coach? Here you have fifteen "coaching sessions" on teaching music to yourself and others through singing, dancing, simple musical analysis, and recording. Unlike most guides to home recording or studio technique, this book focuses on musical performance, not wiring diagrams. There's a broad range of related info, too: everything from what equipment to buy (with prices and dealers' addresses) to how and where to press and package your own CD (with costs and addresses). The whole thing is nicely spiced with the author's personal anecdotes and potent quotes from the likes of Beethoven, Cezanne and the Talmud. Musicians of all ages and abilities, as well as music teachers, will find a wealth of useful information here. If I were giving instrument lessons, I'd buy this thing by the case. It could be the best ten bucks you or your whiz-kid will spend in a long time."

Leonid Hambro:
"Whether you're developing your skills or think of yourself as a finished artist, you should read this book. It contains valuable information that you can find no place else."

Dr. Ray Landers, American Suzuki Journal Winter, 1999:
"I highly recommend To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us... The stories are amusing and enlightening.... So many pedagogically sound and cleverly presented ideas that I can only encourage you to buy it and discover for yourself its many insights into performing, practicing, teaching, and listening."

Richard Grayson, pianist, composer and concert improviser, Occidental College:
"Elegantly written, engaging, full of interesting and useful information."

John Steinmetz, bassoonist, composer, and teacher-clinician:
"Heartfelt and helpful."

Engineering & Science magazine of California Institute of Technology:
"Not just a...how-to manual, the book teaches how to listen to oneself, and it is richly illustrated with anecdotes from the author's own career.... Boyk also includes a chapter on audio systems and components, giving readers the inside scoop from his many years testing recording equipment in his Caltech lab."

Dr. John Zeigler, The Piano Education Page:
"Bravo to Mr. Boyk for this little gem of a book. It is one that all piano teachers, students and parents should. . . read, and then read again. The insights and advice...are too many to skim through and too good to digest at only one exposure."

 
See below for Contents and From Deep Inside.

 

James Boyk's master class at USC
Master class at University of Southern California,
demonstrating techniques from To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us

 
Contents
From Deep Inside.

Dear Reader.

Part I. Teaching Ourselves
    Energy in the Present Tense
    Dancing
    Singing
    Spot-Checking
    Beginning a Performance

Part II. Teaching Others
    Learning Without Anesthetics
    Teaching
    Of Conflict, Exhortation, and the Student-Teacher Tango

Part III. Outlining
    The Road Less Traveled
    From the Beginning
    Outlining.

Part IV. Recording Equipment
    Low-Anxiety Recording
    Audio Systems and Components
    Musicians and Magic, or, Why Pitchers Can't Hit
    Counsels of Imperfection.

Appendices
    Recommended Listening and Reading
    The Author's Recordings and Articles
    Technical Information on Selected Microphones
    Sources for Audio Equipment

 
From Deep Inside
     Trapped in the cage of my own personality, I feel an urgent and personal need to communicate through music, which liberates me and stops the inner dialogue. In music I find the self of which I can be conscious only in performance, when consciousness expands. I work out my destiny onstage.
     The destiny is mediated by notes. I must perform so they are transparent to the music. And the music must be transparent to the emotion. In performance, I have been conscious at times of neither notes nor music, but only of being a locus of activity, a streambed for a torrent of feeling.
     I am greedy to spend all possible time like this. Everything of which I can normally be conscious must be mastered to clear the way for the magic which appears only in performance. From the hidden source of musical ideas, deepest feelings, magic visions beyond words, comes the call to voyage; and I must be ready.

 
Order by phone from the publisher, MMB Music, (800) 543-3771. ($9.95 plus S&H; ISBN 0-918812-87-9.)

 
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