The Bow Stops Here!

How Anyone Can Achieve Energized Anxiety-Controlled Perfection in Any of Life’s Performances

Written by Mary Smale 127 pages, soft cover 2015 Smale Publishing $15 + $5 S&H


This Is Not Another Music Instruction Book!

By Michael Leppert

In my humble opinion, having been a singer/songwriter for 50 years and a guitarist for 57 years, performing in numerous band and solo settings, I can say that the music instruction world does not need another theory or speed-building book. Using the wonderful materials already existing helped me to develop my chops and keep my music machine well-oiled. What these materials did not do, however, was prepare me to deal with performance anxiety. Sometimes it struck like lightning just as I was about to launch into a song that required sureness of purpose.  It is hard to sing convincingly when you are petrified, or to play movingly when your hands won’t stop shaking.

No, to my thinking, what the musical instruction world needs is The Bow Stops Here! It describes a method that eliminates anxiety from the practice sessions before it can strike! Mary Smale, with decades of professional performance to her credit, has applied a brilliant, easy-to-grasp approach to avoiding the contemplation of mistakes. That contemplation of mistakes — past, present and future — leads to the anxiety that will spring up from the subconscious at the least opportune times – on stage — to erode away confidence and to rob the performer of the joy of performing.

To simplify, The Bow Stop approach is to do a small portion of the complete repetitive action as slowly as possible, concentrating on the correct performance for a few notes or a single component of the total once each day, building on that solid foundation. In other words, practicing mistakes makes one adept at the mistakes, while practicing very small increments perfectly results in a performance-ready mind that has played the piece perfectly many, many times. You have concentrated on perfection repetitively and you can call upon that memory before an audience.

Mary’s sister, Charl Ann Gastineau, a deeply experienced violin teacher, has used the Bow Stop method with her students for many years and Mary has tested the Bow Stop method in other areas of performance, one of which being martial arts, and found the techniques to be solid and sound.  Anything one wishes to accomplish in life that requires repetition will benefit from the Bow Stop Method. Athletes of every discipline, musicians and performing artists of any field of endeavor will find their performance enhanced by this simple, but brilliant approach!

I wish I had employed the Stop Bow approach in the 1960s, when I was developing my performance-self; it would have made the ensuing years much more enjoyable.

But you, dear reader – whether parent or student — can take advantage of this marvelous concept and develop your performance to its full potential! Parents should acquire Ms. Smale’s book for their children and students old enough to be self-responsible should acquire it as quickly as possible and introduce the Bow Stop into your practice regimen as soon as possible, so you can enter a whole new world of musical achievement and enjoyment! MjL