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Modernizing Practice Paradigms for New Music

Periodization Theory and Peak Performance Exemplified Through Extended Techniques

Series:

Jennifer Borkowski

The author examines how new music scores with extended playing techniques call for new practice structures. YouTube access to basic instructional videos and the streaming of sound files allows musicians today to learn easily and independently. Yet, the trailblazers in new music tackled new scores without these aids; they used imagination, experimentation and tenacity. Conscious use of both learning modalities can augment ideas of practice and performance preparation; expanding new music’s reach while preserving its fire. Practice is differentiated between the quick learning for an upcoming performance and the transformative learning that new music offers. Periodization theory from sport science provides a pedagogical framework for building both mental and physical stamina leading to peak performance.

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IX. In Conclusion

Extract

New music is a special place. We’re defining it as we go. We get our creative juices flowing. We are energized with new thoughts. Paradigm shifts in performance and pedagogical approach make us more complete musicians. The more approaches we have, the more depth we create and the more autonomous we become. In the suffering arts climate, these are invaluable skills. Periodization does not need to takeover pedagogy as we know it, but its ex- ample can serve as an agent for increasing pedagogical depth. I’ve taken a few words: conscious, body-conscious, depth, strength, stamina, mind-set, and given them structure. The fire and commitment of top athletes is something I’ve wanted to under- stand more deeply. I was inspired through my knowledge of periodization training and peak performance. The concept of periodization involves pre- paring the body in ways that musicians traditionally neglect. The concept of tapering work before a performance is something novel to many of us. Stamina building has been only guessed at to this point. The solutions here are solid as they are based on a tried and proven theory in sport science. In- troducing these concepts gives us clear ways to physically prepare without adding to our stress levels. Periodization seeks to minimize injury and allow the body to peak at the right moments. The theory, when well applied, will lessen worry about preparedness and allow for more creativity and enjoy- ment during performances. I’ve talked about developments in technology that change the game for...

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