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"The friendly revolution" for all musicians
To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us


James  Boyk

Internationally-Known Recording Artist and Teacher
Pianist in Residence 30 years at California Institute of Technology


With these tested techniques, musicians will hear themselves more objectively, work more efficiently, and play more expressively. See below for description, quotes & reviews, table of contents, and the preface, "From Deep Inside."

"If I were giving instrument lessons, I'd buy this thing by the case." —Whole Earth Review

"Bravo for this little gem of a book." —The Piano Education Page

"A treasure-trove... should be required reading." —André Watts

"Excellent.... Valuable to both teacher and student." —Yehudi Menuhin

"Useful, cheerful, inspirational, thought-provoking." —Piano & Keyboard




Graduate seminar at Longy School
James Boyk introducing To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us to a Graduate Seminar at Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Mass.


Description of To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us

This little volume by concert pianist James Boyk is several books in one.
     For musicians of all instruments and ages, it is a guide to using recording as a tool in practicing, teaching and preparing for performance. Following Boyk's tested wisdom, musicians will hear themselves more objectively, work more efficiently, and play more expressively.
     It is also an easy-to-understand guide to microphones and other recording gear, with specific equipment recommendations, all from a recognized expert. (Boyk is a recording engineer/producer, and founded the Music Lab at California Institute of Technology.)
     Finally, the book's many amusing anecdotes and poetic reflections make it a reading delight.

Please note!

The exercises in the book are simple, but they are subtle! A lot of the book's teaching is expressed not in words but via the actions of the exercises. Many people take the exercises to be vague examples of what one might do with recording. This is not the case! They are highly-evolved, very specific activities that will produce striking results in just a few weeks, if one works in good faith.


Working with Ms. Jee Yeon Yim
Working with graduate student Ms. Jee Yeon Yim at Longy


Quotes and Reviews

Leonid Hambro:
"Whether you're developing your skills or think of yourself as a finished artist, you should read this book. It contains valuable information that you can find no place else."

Dr. Bradford Gowen, Piano & Keyboard:
"All 'how to' books should be like this one: useful, cheerful, inspirational, thought-provoking, and so complete and clear as to be more than user-friendly—indeed, user-solicitous. ... Boyk has the temperament to be both mechanical and artistic, and the wisdom to see both paths in the service of the same goal."

Steve Taylor, Whole Earth Review:
"Don't have a hundred dollars for an hour with a top-notch music coach? Here you have fifteen "coaching sessions" on teaching music to yourself and others through singing, dancing, simple musical analysis, and recording. Unlike most guides to home recording or studio technique, this book focuses on musical performance, not wiring diagrams. There's a broad range of related info, too: everything from what equipment to buy (with prices and dealers' addresses) to how and where to press and package your own CD (with costs and addresses). The whole thing is nicely spiced with the author's personal anecdotes and potent quotes from the likes of Beethoven, Cezanne and the Talmud. Musicians of all ages and abilities, as well as music teachers, will find a wealth of useful information here. If I were giving instrument lessons, I'd buy this thing by the case. It could be the best ten bucks you or your whiz-kid will spend in a long time."

Dr. Stewart Gordon, Head of Keyboard Studies, University of Southern California:
"Valuable information, presented in an engaging, readable style."

Dr. William Conable, 'cellist & conductor, Head of Keyboard/Strings Faculty, Ohio State University:
"Wise, witty, fascinating and useful. A must read for musicians of all ages."

Dr. Ray Landers, American Suzuki Journal:
"I highly recommend To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us... The stories are amusing and enlightening.... So many pedagogically sound and cleverly presented ideas that I can only encourage you to buy it and discover for yourself its many insights into performing, practicing, teaching, and listening."

Richard Grayson, pianist, composer and concert improviser, Occidental College:
"Elegantly written, engaging, full of interesting and useful information."

John Steinmetz, bassoonist, composer, and teacher-clinician:
"Heartfelt and helpful."

Dr. John Zeigler, The Piano Education Page:
"Bravo to Mr. Boyk for this little gem of a book. It is one that all piano teachers, students and parents, and then read again. The insights and advice...are too many to skim through and too good to digest at only one exposure."

Yehudi Menuhin:
"Excellent.... Valuable to both teacher and student."

André Watts:
"a treasure-trove of information, advice and entertaining musical insights for both amateur and professional musicians. James Boyk's enthusiastic philosophy for musical excellence is contagious, and should be required reading for all lovers of music."

James Boyk's master class at USC
Master class at University of Southern California,
demonstrating techniques from To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us



From Deep Inside (See below.)

Dear Reader

Part I. Teaching Ourselves
     Energy in the Present Tense
     Beginning a Performance

Part II. Teaching Others
     Learning Without Anesthetics
     Of Conflict, Exhortation, and the Student-Teacher Tango

Part III. Outlining
     The Road Less Traveled
     From the Beginning

Part IV. Recording Equipment
     Low-Anxiety Recording
     Audio Systems and Components
     Musicians and Magic, or, Why Pitchers Can't Hit
     Counsels of Imperfection.

     Recommended Listening and Reading
     The Author's Recordings and Articles
     Technical Information on Selected Microphones
     Sources for Audio Equipment


From Deep Inside

Trapped in the cage of my own personality, I feel an urgent and personal need to communicate through music, which liberates me and stops the inner dialogue. In music I find the self of which I can be conscious only in performance, when consciousness expands. I work out my destiny onstage.
     The destiny is mediated by notes. I must perform so they are transparent to the music. And the music must be transparent to the emotion. In performance, I have been conscious at times of neither notes nor music, but only of being a locus of activity, a streambed for a torrent of feeling.
     I am greedy to spend all possible time like this. Everything of which I can normally be conscious must be mastered to clear the way for the magic which appears only in performance. From the hidden source of musical ideas, deepest feelings, magic visions beyond words, comes the call to voyage; and I must be ready.




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