Reading good literature, and soaking up the information it conveys, can be very beneficial to musicians. Like listening to music, it can be inspiring, rewarding, and worthwhile. Knowledge is power.
I’ve read the following books, and they have undoubtedly helped me improve on my instrument, and become a wiser human being. I can genuinely recommend them from experience, and hope you can enjoy their benefits too.
This page has affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of its price, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support, I truly appreciate it!
The Power of Now – This book is a great resource for improving your focus during practice sessions, and away from them too. It does a great job of reminding you to enjoy the present moment, which can help block out distractions and thoughts that knock you out of focus. It has meditational and spirituality elements, but its contents can certainly be applied to practicing and playing. It can help you “snap out of it”, and enjoy the present moment — which is beneficial when learning anything, since your attention and focus is fully on the task at hand, in that moment.
Here is the audiobook version, for car rides or listening at home: The Power of Now – Audiobook (CD)
Miles Davis Autobiography – This book is compelling from the very beginning, and holds lots of insights into being a musician, even if you aren’t a jazz fan/player. It is a great tale of the human character, and what it means to be a musician whose main priority in life is music and playing it. It is entertaining in large part due to Miles Davis speaking from his mind, in his own tone of voice, without worrying about what people think. It is a no holds-barred, authentic look into a life that arguably changed music forever. It is a hip book, check it out.
Here is the audiobook if you enjoy listening as much as reading: Miles: The Autobiography – Audiobook (CD)
The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in Each of Us Affects Our Relationships – As musicians, we tend to care about emotions and how they affect the people and the world around us. Music is full of emotional elements, and a better understanding of emotions and how they affect ourselves and others can be enlightening. If you are into psychology, soul-searching, or just a better understanding of your Self, then this book can help. It is an older one, but the knowledge in it is timeless and wise. You’ll also learn more about the differences between feminine and masculine energies, and gain a deeper understanding of the opposite gender.
The Portable Jung – This book is thick and wordy, but it contains some very deep, insightful information about the human psyche. Its contents touch on personality traits (Introversion, Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Sensing, etc.), as well as synchronicity, quantum physics, and thinking/psychology in general. It also discusses the differences between Western and Eastern world mentalities, and more insights into being a human in the world. If you like psychology, or better understanding how people think and interact with one another, this book is like a mini-encyclopedia of Carl Jung’s psychological insights. It talks about the collective unconscious, the Shadow, and other aspects of the world and ourselves that are far-reaching, and deep within. This book was enlightening to me, and helped give me new ways of looking at the world, and understanding people around me.
Man and His Symbols – This is another great book, featuring much of Carl Jung’s ideas. This one is a little more artistic, and approaches the material from an archetypal standpoint. Any artist, musician, or creative person can gain lots of insights from this book. It has cool art and images in it too. It touches on metaphysical subjects from a psychological and artistic standpoint.
For more practice ideas and tips, check out the practice section!