Review: Zoom88 – How to Be Calmer and Improve Your Music Making

It would be easy to say that Zoom88 is a book about using Thought Field Therapy (TFT) as a means to improve musicians’ performance anxiety; however, it’s about so much more than that. That said, describing it easily in a few sentences is perhaps a harder task.

Rosemary Wiseman, an experienced musician, teacher and performer shares many decades experience and wisdom in these pages. There is practical advice for musicians of all levels, regardless of where they are on their musical journeys.

The book opens in an autobiographic way as Rosemary describes her own experience as learner. She describes some of the people who were most influential in her early years as a learner, and I’m sure that many of us too will be able to link our pivotal childhood musical experiences to particular individuals.

Extract from Zoom88

Rosemary describes the way in which her own experiences, notably her own teacher training, led her via a number of educational establishments to return to playing the flute. On her return, she describes how she felt on giving an informal performance to a nursery school, saying:

‘as I began to play, I hyperventilated, going dizzy, after only a few notes’

p. 29

Combined with the pain she was experiencing from bruxism and TMJ, she sought help, and as a consequence, first encountered Erickson Self-Hypnosis. She found this hugely useful, and it allowed her to understand more fully her own ‘stage fright’ and performance anxiety.

Rosemary immersed herself in the area of hypnotherapy, and she describes in the book how this became a pivotal part of her own playing and teaching. Further exploration of NLP, psychotherapy and hypnosis, led Rosemary to explore TFT. This was a turning point for her and she gradually learnt more and more about this area, introducing it in her own teaching. She describes its use, saying:

‘At home with my private students, I was so amazed by the results I was achieving though using TFT that I began making recordings of some of them, before and after the tapping sequences’

p. 48

Following an insightful view into Rosemary’s development as a practitioner, she offers some more practical advice and suggestion for musicians. Whilst there is a focus on teaching, many of the suggestions can be used by learners and performers alike.

Extract from Zoom88

Drawing on her own experience, she covers a range of different areas, including:

  • A first piano lesson
  • Improving your practising
  • Improving your performance
  • Enjoying sight-reading
  • Top tips for music theory

All her suggestions are clearly tried and tested, and can easily be adapted to a range of different scenarios. I’ve only really scratched the surface of Zoom88, but it’s definitely one I shall be dipping in and out of. Be under no illusions, there are no fancy graphics, pretty pictures or psychedelic fonts, but the practical advice is presented in bite-size chunks and in a way which makes you want to try things out.

In the final part of Zoom88, Rosemary presents a series of case studies in which she describes her approach in practice. In particular, this section focuses on performance anxiety and tension, but it also reinforces the power of music to heal and enrich. Rosemary also gives examples (with additional exercises in the appendices) of how she uses approaches such as TFT in practice.

As Rosemary herself admits, this isn’t a slim volume, but it is packed full of practical suggestions, tips and insights. Whether you’re a teacher, student, learner or performer (and anything in-between), there is something in here for you. It might take a few reads, but I’m sure that eventually it’ll become a book you dip in and out of on a regular basis.

Zoom88: How to be calmer and Improve your music making by Rosemary Wiseman, is published by New Generation Publishing, ISBN 9781789553529, priced £10.99.

I was sent a review copy of this book free of charge; however, this review is my honest opinion as a teacher and musician. You can find my Reviews Policy here.

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