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Book details
  • Genre:MUSIC
  • SubGenre:Reference
  • Language:English
  • Pages:138
  • eBook ISBN:9781879730663

You Are Your Instrument

The Definitive Musician's Guide To Practice and Performance

by Julie Lyonn Lieberman View author's profile page

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This unique guide helps all musicians open up new avenues of expression through a pain-free, healthy, fluid approach to music-making; overcome performance anxiety, general tension, and muscular injury; and increase learning skills and facilitate more effective motor coordination.


This is a highly recommended book to read for the musician who needs information about maximizing one's full potential as an artist. It is practical in that it covers all aspects of musicianship, ranging from the mental performance preparation to the actual physical preventative and healing care needed for repetitive stress injuries.

Reviewers have stated, “Her six-level approach to memorization ... is worth the price of the book.”

— Open up new avenues of expression through a healthy, pain-free, fluid approach to music-making.

— Overcome performance anxiety, general tension, and muscular injury.

— Increase your learning skills and facilitate more effective motor coordination. 

— Open up new avenues of expression through a healthy, pain-free, fluid approach to music-making.

— Overcome performance anxiety, general tension, and muscular injury.

— Increase your learning skills and facilitate more effective motor coordination.

— 40 illustrations & 40 photos.

—  Heralded by over 45 reviewers as the most comprehensive guide to help any musician heal existing injuries and develop a more enjoyable physical/mental experience during practice & performance. Includes anatomy charts and a Directory of Healing Modalities.

There are five spin-off DVDs that offer even more detailed information: Violin in Motion, Violin and Viola Ergonomics, Vocal Aerobics, The Instrumentalist's Guide To Fitness, Health, and Musicianship, and The Vocalist's Guide To Fitness, Health, and Musicianship.

This work is an invaluable vehicle for musicians who want to learn to use their bodies and minds more intelligently while practicing and performing.  - Lukas Foss, composer and conductor

Every performing musician should carefully read this book. Many of us do not even know we need help, but Julie supplies it anyway! - Billy Taylor, jazz pianist and educator

Julie Lyonn Lieberman’s book is a great service to growing musicians. - Paul Winter, The Paul Winter Consort

This is the first book I have seen that summarizes many of the lessons I learned (the hard way) from a lifetime of performing, but should have been taught before I started. - John Glaesel, Past President, American Federation of Musicians, Local 802

This is a highly recommended book to read for the musician who needs information about maximizing one’s full potential as an artist. This book is practical in that it covers all aspects of musicianship, ranging from the mental preparations involved in performance to the actual bodily care needed to prevent long-term injuries. - Teresa Ancaya, Book Review

… an important addition to the growing field of Performance Medicine. The exercises and practice suggestions are carefully thought out and a great asset to musical injury prevention. - Dr. Richard Norris, M.D.

… solidly researched, very well organized, clearly written and illustrated, and if not encyclopedic at least impressively broad in scope. - Ted Rust, Music for the Love of It

Julie Lyonn Lieberman has created a knowledgeable, well written and comprehensive guide to music practice and performance without being dogmatic, pedantic, or redundant — not an easy feat. - Aileen Crow, Bookshelf

Julie Lyonn Lieberman has put together a handsome, clear guide with a variety of tips and suggestions…. The book is a large format, well designed and cleverly illustrated…. This is a useful resource guide for today’s performing musicians, and a beneficial tool for teachers to utilize in assisting students to develop healthy habits. - Gail Berenson, American Music Teacher

… a novel, helpful manual of interest to any musician. - The Small Press Book Review

… a must for every musician’s library. I am excited about learning to play in a fluid, pain-free way. The insights from your book are sure to be very helpful in the weeks (and years!) to come. Already I can feel a difference every time I sit down with the instrument. - Bill Ochs, Pennywhistler’s Press

… good common sense approaches to physical well-being, and some helpful hints for approaching the stress that haunts all performers at one time or another. Useful reading. - The Opera Journal

… both a practice and performance guide and a key to playing in a fluid, pain-free manner. - The Bookwatch

… a reference compendium for minimizing physical pain caused by playing techniques … she’s covered the waterfront. - JazzTimes

You Are Your Instrument is an exceptional title which shows musicians how to approach and understand their minds, their bodies, how to seek specific medical help when needed, the art of warming up, combating nervousness, carrying equipment, surviving the road, the importance of correct muscle balance, self exercise systems…and healing remedies. - The Coast Book Review Service

Full of useful information for musicians of all genres, this book is laid out in an intelligent and attractive format that supports both browsing and in-depth study. The production quality is particularly impressive given that the book is self-published … Her six-level approach to memorization is a great improvement over the haphazard methods most musicians use. (One musician told me it was ‘was worth the price of the whole book.’) - Liz Stell, The Berkshire Eagle “

[You Are Your Instrument] has much to recommend it as it provides much valuable information. - Paul Mansur, The Horn Call

By understanding how the body works, Lieberman emphasizes avoiding physical tension and achieving a balance in the body to prevent physical problems, and includes a list of potential problems. - The Instrumentalist

The true value of this method is that it can open your eyes to a new dimension of physical and mental awareness, and the way that awareness can improve your music. - The Devil’s Box

Pragmatic and at the same time engagingly written…. - The NATS Journal

This is a concise, intelligently written book of ambitious scope, which seeks to address the needs to the growing number of musicians who find themselves struggling with physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual injuries and limitations. - Strings Magazine

… she is careful to include down-to-earth practical advice and hard scientific information…the book is attractively produced… - Scott Patterson, Continuo Magazine

About the author

Ms. Lieberman is an eclectic styles violinist and vocalist, who specializes in playing healthy techniques as well as improvisation and American vernacular and world styles. She has helped build 21st century string education over the last forty+ years through her word as an educator, author, radio producer, composer, recording artist, journalist, and performer. Ms. Lieberman is the author of twelve music books (A Festival of Violin & Fiddle Styles, Twelve-Key Practice, Planet Musician, The Creative Band and Orchestra, Alternative Styles: The New Curriculum, Improvising Violin, The Contemporary Violinist, and Rockin’ Out with Blues Fiddle, among others), six DVDs (Violin in Motion, Violin and Viola Ergonomics, Techniques for the Contemporary String Player, Vocal Aerobics, etc.), two National Public Radio series, and over fifty magazine articles. Parallel to her contributions to the string world, Julie Lyonn Lieberman has been a major proponent in the “playing healthy” movement for all musicians.

When Ms. Lieberman experienced crippling pain in her neck and right shoulder in the 1970s from playing the violin, there was no one to turn to for help, and there weren’t any books or videos on the topic. The field of music medicine didn’t even exist. She noticed that dance teachers were supplying the dancers she knew with detailed anatomical information as a part of their training. She wondered why musicians didn’t have access to this body of information. Her grandmother, who was dragged off the steps of city hall protesting for the right to vote, told her, “if you want something to change, do it yourself.” She launched a 10-year project that culminated in the publication of her critically acclaimed book, You Are Your Instrument, now in its 6th edition. The book came out just as the field of Music Medicine had emerged. Her credo — that musicians can and should understand basic joint and muscle function, as well as how to protect and/or heal themselves from injury — has not been shared by the medical establishment. Since the publication of “You Are Your Instrument,” Ms. Lieberman has worked with thousands of injured musicians in the U.S., Canada, and abroad in master classes and one-on-one.

Lieberman is a J.D’Addario Elite Clinician and is the Artistic Director for the summer program, Strings Without Boundaries.

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