Issue 16: The Inner Game of Music and Musicians

In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.   

Francine du Plessix Gray, Blissing Out In Houston, New York Review of Books, December 13, 1973

The inner game of music [Book]

Timothy Gallwey’s books on “The Inner Game” have been around since the seventies as you can see from the publication dates below  (which I have lifted from the wikipedia article on Timoty Gallwey).  I found the book “The Inner Game of Music”, which Barry Green co-authored with him, a useful read.  It applies the insights that Gallwey used to improve the performance of sportsmen to the particular needs of musicians wishing to improve musical performance.




Mastery of Music: Ten Keys to Musical ExcellenceI have also enjoyed Barry Green’s “The Mastery of Music”  (ISBN 1-4050-0009-0).  It is entertaining and interesting; he takes ten aspects of muscianship, eg “Communication”, “Passion”, “Discipline”, and, using particular types of instruments, delves further into the inner workings of music.

So, for “Courage”, he considers the demands made upon the French Horn and Percussion players; for “Tolerance” he looks to the violas, for “Fun” he interviews trombone, tuba and double bass players.  I was amused and intrigued by his choices of instrument to illustrate these qualities.

I’m looking forward to having time over the next few weeks to read these two books again – for amusement, interest, and professional developmnt all in one go.


  • Gallwey, W. Timothy. (1976). Inner tennis : playing the game. New York: Random House. ISBN 0394400437.
  • Gallwey, W. Timothy; Kriegel, Robert J. (1977). Inner skiing (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0394420489.
  • Gallwey, W. Timothy (1981). The Inner Game of Golf (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0394505344.
  • Gallwey, W. Timothy (1985). Inner Game of Winning. Listen USA. ISBN 0-88684-064-3.
  • Green, Barry; Gallwey, W. Timothy (1986). The inner game of music (1st ed.). New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-23126-1.
  • Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2000). The Inner Game of Work. New York: Random House. ISBN 0375500073.
  • Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2009). The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life’s Challenges, Fulfill Your Potential, Enjoy Yourself. New York: Random House. ISBN 140006791X.


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