The Integrated Musician
A Book Series Conceived and Edited by Pedro de Alcantara
As a musician you’re part performer, musicologist, linguist, historian, psychologist, athlete, and mathematician. The Integrated Musician is a book series designed to help you develop many of these skills and unify them in a harmonious whole.
Indirect Procedures: A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique explores concepts of whole-body and body-mind awareness.
Integrated Practice: Coordination, Rhythm & Sound invites you to use music itself to guide your search for wholeness and psychophysical freedom.
The series will continue with volumes covering more detailed ground for string players, singers, woodwind players, and keyboardists. In the future, the series may grow to include other musical domains as well.
The Integrated Musician: A Manifesto
We tell stories and listen to them continuously, the better to understand the world and navigate it. Story includes narrative, metaphor, illustration, humor, explanation, analysis, sounds, images, and gestures. The integrated musician is a storyteller, using elements of story while practicing, rehearsing, and performing.
Music is a language, and as such it has its own syntax, orthography, and punctuation. Like all languages, music has a prosody as well—that is, a rhythmic organization. The integrated musician is a master of rhythm in all its dimensions.
What you say and how you say it are never far apart. When you express yourself in an individual manner that is unique to you, your technique too will be individual and unique. The integrated musician invents and reinvents his or her technique.
Your whole body is present in all that you do. There is a circuit of connections from finger to hand, to arm, shoulder, head and neck, and also to back, pelvis, legs, and feet. The integrated musician is a “connected animal.”
Creativity, the intellect, and the emotions play a permanent role in daily life as well as in music making. The integrated musician balances out mind and body, structure and improvisation, the rational and the irrational.
Theory and practice can be good friends. To understand tonality and modality, acoustics, historical practice, and other theoretical concepts is to feel and perform music differently. The integrated musician finds pleasure in knowledge.
There is a difference between a creator (Beethoven, for instance) and a reproducer (a performer playing Beethoven today). Meaningful art always is close to the creative source. The integrated musician makes music as a creator, from within, even when performing pieces composed by other people.
Pedro de Alcantara
Paris and New York