Passionate Practice


Passionate Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Learning, Memorizing and Performing


Passionate Practice offers a synthesis of innovative techniques in learning, memorizing and performing. It provides the necessary steps in learning how to relax, focus and concentrate. Though the language is mostly geared towards musicians, it is used by artists and performers in all fields.

Some of the techniques you will learn are:

The Automatic Relax ResponseAn easy technique to immediately deflect anxiety and re-focus

The Eight-Point Sensory System
To enhance learning and provide safety nets which free you to perform with passion

The Puppy Dog Hand and the Magic Carpet

Fanciful terms for powerful techniques which facilitate ease, from preparation through performance

Changing the “Uh-Oh” Mind-Set

Don't pull your hair out when you think, 'uh-oh' here comes that section. Learn to change it to "ahhhhhh, I love this part."

The Performance Schedule

The precise steps to go from performing brilliantly in your living room to performing on stage.

Playing with Passion

How to integrate your technique, your mind, body and senses to play passionately and enjoy yourself.


“Simply stated – this book is terrific. It reads beautifully and will help not only pianists but other performers as well. Whimsical at times, serious at others, very funny in places, down to earth, fun to read (and thought-provoking at the same time).”
Diana Dabby, PhD., Pianist, Performer, Composer, Inventor, Assistant Professor of  Electrical Engineering and Music, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

“Margret Elson has crafted a unique step-by-step guide to artistic mastery. There are rich implications here not only for artistic development but for the psychotherapeutic treatment of blocks to creative expression. This is a wise, playful manual for anyone who aspires to confidence and passion in what they do. A rare contribution.”
Dr. Louise Bettner, PhD., Clinical Psychologist, Classical Pianist, Faculty, John F.Kennedy University.

Passionate Practice offers a comprehensive and positive path toward authentic musicality. Elson’s suggestions are valuable for musicians at every stage of develoment. I heartily recommend that every reader of this book give careful attention to its material, and importantly, apply her ideas to daily practice and teaching.”
John McCarthy, Director of Preparatory & Extension Divisions, San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

“A kind, generous and helpful book.”
Music for the Love of It, December, 2002

“Delightful…Elson takes psychological concepts that are actually quite complicated…and simplifies them for us into an approach to learning music that ultimately frees us to bring our very selves (warts and all, as she says) into the music we play…she shows us how to flip the demon, anxiety, into a catalyst rather than impediment in playing.”
The California Music Teacher, Fall, 2002

“I have found this book not only profound but also comforting in its optimism. AND – it’s a great distraction from awful thoughts at 4 AM – for that alone, I think it’s terrific.”
Sally Weare, MFA, Internationally Exhibited Artist, Educator.

“The best book I’ve read in the field of music-making. Non-musicians as well as musicians will profit from it because the scope is so broad. One of the most genuinely meaningful books on performing I’ve ever read; the examples are truly striking and to the point.”
Ken Bruckmeier, Professor Emeritus of Music

“The book delineates how we can…practice efficiently, overcome performance fears and find our expressive voice. The strongest contribution here is the variety of psychological devices; if one strategy doesn’t connect with a reader, it’s quite likely that another one will – and this is good, since the dynamics of performance psychology are so very personal.”
American Music Teacher, February/March 2003 

“Passionate Practice enabled me to develop a sense of peace that I could return to again and again in the midst of performance. It furthered a faith that with proper training, I could count on my thoughts and words to come even if I felt temporarily lost.”
Mitchell Newman, M.D., Playwright, Actor, Director, Teacher, Artistic Director: Thirsty Theatre Acting Lab, New York City.

“Every day I read a little of your magnificent book. The tone is so natural, the subject well-understood, and the language both complex and accessible. It’s just such a lovely book.”
Lesley Quinn, Travel Writer, Humorist



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