Book/resources recommendations - musical learning, performance, practice

I was thinking about the somewhat more “theoretical” interviews such as Given, Winner, Kageyama etc. Both Winner’s book and Given’s are now on my to-read list and I’ve been checking out Kageyama’s website. I find them all fascinating and relevant for me as a teacher, guitarist and a geek in general.

I guess this is primarily a question for @Troy & co; I was wondering whether, in your code cracking quest, you’ve come across other interesting books, resources or people that you just haven’t had the opportunity to interview but wish you had? And do any of them have books or other resources that may be interesting for the rest of us? Whether it be guitar technical, musicological or pedagogical.


Someone mentioned ‘The Practice of Practice’ on another thread here the other day so I grabbed a Kindle copy and am really enjoying it.


Thanks for the suggestion! I was the one mentioning, glad you liked it. I find it’s full of strategies that make practice more fun, and I hope, more efficient.

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Hey, great question! I moved this to #teachers-lounge (I don’t think it’s “Off Topic”!) and changed the title to be a bit more focused. Many of these more theoretical interviews we’ve done are focused on musical learning / practice so I think it’s a good fit here.

I’ve worked on a lot of the research we did in preparing for and arranging these interviews. And personally I’m particularly interested in the theory side re: creativity, pedagogy, etc. Troy may be able to speak more to something like particular people we wish we had the chance to interview, from more of a guitar-technical perspective.

Below is a big list of interesting books I’ve come across in the course of this research. These include books related to things we’ve released like science of practice / prodigy, as well as other areas we’ve started looking into for possible Masters in Mechanics inquiry, like creativity, improvisation, and musical health and injury.

These are mostly ones we haven’t had a chance to read yet but that seem worth checking out. Several are by people, like K. Anders Ericsson or Janet Horvath, whose research we’ve encountered while looking into these topics. Many others are just ones I found that looked fun. Perhaps useful fodder for a future Cracking the Code book club… :slight_smile:

FYI we also have some more academic notes on the Ellen Winner, Noa Kageyama, and Pietro Mazzoni interviews. We actually put together PDFs of our notes on these that come with the corresponding download products. Too much stuff to post here but these will likely find their way to the Cracking the Code website in some form down the line…and if there’s a specific area you’d like to see some of the research on, let me know and I can share a few links.

Learning / Talent / Performance

Teaching / Pedagogy

Body / Injury / Physiology

Creativity / Improvisation



This was EXACTLY the kind of thing I had in mind, but more comprehensive than I could have hoped for. Thanks @Brendan! There goes my to-read list for the next few years!

I’ll have a look through my books to se if I have any titles to share.

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I know this thread isn’t going to get lost in the Teacher’s Lounge at the minute but will you be making threads sticky for future reference? This seems an ideal candidate.

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thanks for providing all of these resources!

Great! Haha my pleasure, I’m an inveterate collector of books, real and in list-form. Look forward to seeing any cool ones you’ve found as well!

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Not sure yet. In general we’re not big on the idea of sticky threads because it’s a slippery slope to cluttered UI. But I do think it’s worth figuring out a way to surface forum posts that may have ongoing utility. I like the “stock vs. flow” metaphor for thinking about this kind of thing.

Anyway definitely something we can think about further! And always open to suggestions along these lines. One thing we’re working on w/ the new website (a work in progress subsection, not yet publicly launched) is a better way to have a more textual web knowledgebase, so maybe something like this could eventually find a home there.


@Brendan check out Practicing for Artistic Success by Burton Kaplan. I’ve applied the approaches and ides in this book countless times both with students and in my own practice and it is awesome.


Holy cow, @Brendan, you’ll bankrupt me. :wink:

Lots of good suggestions in there. Thanks!

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Just piggy backing on this thread, after watching the Noa Kageyama interview, he mentioned about sports psychology and there’s a different way to practice to prepare for high stakes, one time performances. I don’t think he ever mentions in that entire interview how to go about doing that.

Any good books you guys can recommend to explore this topic that aren’t college text books? (sports psychology, preparing for performance, performance anxiety that type of topic)

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Noa has his own resources for sale at, and he does a weekly podcast. You might start there?

@Brendan Fantastic list of references here! Thank you :slight_smile:

Great! I’d like to listen to those recommend amazon music, but I find they are not available. So I just get the 3-month free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited and download music from amazon to my computer. Now I can freely enjoy those music tracks whenever I want!

the one book that i think is crucial, one that i always come back to, and one that i should probably scan to myself so i never run out is this simple book. of course it would go even better with transcription paper, but this one imo is far more important. i found mine at guitar center. i am still thinking of ways to use it better possibly using color for each dot of the scale.

fretboard diagram paper

My little site, Practicing Guitar — Practicing Guitar documentation

Not my ideas, but things I’ve found elsewhere that were worth collecting in a single spot! Cheers and best wishes, jz