“The Practicing Mind: Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning To Love the Process” is a bestselling book by Thomas M. Sterner that is applicable to non-musicians and musicians alike. The author happens to be a piano technician by trade and in the past held a high-pressure job preparing pianos at a performance venue for visiting concert pianists. The book provides helpful tips and strategies for anyone who is practicing in order to learn a skill, whether it be music, golfing, speaking a foreign language, or any pursuit.
I gained some very helpful tips and mindsets from the book. Here are two examples:
- The author reminds us that we should remember to find joy in the process of the pursuit, rather than thinking that happiness will only come when we reach an identified goal.
- He points out that a great deal of our stress is caused by failing to live in-the-moment. Meaning, when we find ourselves feeling stressed, it is often because we are thinking and worrying about other tasks, goals, or commitments at a time when we cannot do anything about them. When we become aware that this is happening to us, we can shift our focus to think only about where we are and what we are doing now. This releases the stress and can actually increase our productivity when we DO return to the task we were stressed about.
The book is under 150 pages and is fun and easy reading — yet thought provoking. I highly recommend this book to anyone who practices, whether it is music or other pursuits. I have recommended it to a couple of my adult students who likewise found it helpful and enjoyable.
Find the book on Amazon here.