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Main page » Non-Fiction » Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music

Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music


The remarkable odyssey of a classical guitar prodigy who abandons his beloved instrument in defeat at the age of twenty-five, but comes back to it years later with a new kind of passion.

With insight and humor, Glenn Kurtz takes us from his first lessons at a small Long Island guitar school at the age of eight, to a national television appearance backing jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, to his acceptance at the elite New England Conservatory of Music. He makes bittersweet and vivid a young man’s struggle to forge an artist’s life—and to become the next Segovia. And we see him after graduation, pursuing a solo career in Vienna but realizing that he has neither the ego nor the talent required to succeed at the upper reaches of the world of classical guitar—and giving up the instrument, and his dream, entirely.

Or so he thought. For, returning to the guitar, Kurtz weaves into the larger narrative the rich experience of a single practice session, demonstrating how practicing—the rigor, attention, and commitment it requires—becomes its own reward, an almost spiritual experience that redefines the meaning of “success.” Along the way, he traces the evolution of the guitar and reminds us why it has retained its singular popularity through the ages.

Complete with a guide to selected musical recordings and methods, Practicing takes us on a revelatory, inspiring journey: a love affair with music.

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Tags: Music, pursuing, career, Vienna, neither