Thursday, October 22, 2009

The State of Music Today, Kenny Werner's Musicianship Book

Originally posted on November 9, 2007

Friday again, and I hope it is a happy one for you. Music making in today’s world is an even bigger challenge, at least here in the US, than ever before. Many music programs in schools have been drastically cut or eliminated over the years, the number of places to play and to build skills has drastically diminished from the early electric era to today, television is not as devoted to covering music as it once was, radio syndication makes it harder and harder to get your music heard, the music business has been in a tailspin for a number of years and perhaps has bottomed out. Given downloading and such, I believe the world tends to think of music as a less valuable commodity than it once was. And just plain old people—I don’t know, many of them don’t spend as much time actually listening to music than they once did. At least that’s my experience, looking around me in New Jersey, just outside of New York City. One could say the quality of music has suffered lately. That might be true in terms of what gets exposure in any big way, but there are great musicians and great musics out there if the audience can be found for them. I could go on but wont. The upshot is that musicians need to dedicate themselves to their art in a world that is not so easy anymore, if it ever was. It is natural for a budding musician to feel insecure, let alone a veteran. Well, don’t give up the fight.

Another book to read if you feel yourself flagging in spirit or motivation was written by a jazz pianist, but is applicable to any musician playing any music, even guitarists and bass guitarists! See, I’m not forgetting about you over here at Gapplegate Music. Anyway, the book is called Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within by Kenny Werner. What’s good about it is that it seeks to instill in the reader a place in her or his mind where exceptional creativity of a musical sort can happen consistently. It will give you a lift, and if you attend to it carefully, might turn you into much heavier a cat musically. I wish that for anybody reading this. And if you aren’t a musician, it still can help you, although you might do better with Fritz’s book mentioned yesterday. That’s it for books right now. Monday I will write about rummaging around for vinyl recordings and some musical things I am now appreciating that I located for peanuts.

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