Recommended Reading

In addition to taking private piano lessons, studying music theory and ear training at the university level, experimenting by trial and error, and playing in a variety of music groups, a huge part of my musical education came from absorbing upwards of two hundred books and videos on the vast and fascinating subject of music. I have highlighted the “keepers” below, those that had a significant impact on my development as a musician. Do you have a book or video to recommend? Enjoy!

Geoff Colvin, “Talent is Overrated”

An insightful and inspiring exploration of what really separates world-class performers from everybody else: Deliberate Practice!

Gerald Eskelin, “Lies My Music Teacher Told Me”

Excellent discussion of the myths and realities of rhythm, acoustics, tuning, and our natural capacities to hear and enjoy musical sounds.

Robert Jourdain, “Music, The Brain, & Ecstasy”

Comprehensive history of the development of our human musical senses, perception, and enjoyment.  Traces the evolution of our rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic response to music.

Barry Green, “The Inner Game of Music”

A la “The Inner Game of Tennis”… Some great ideas for cultivating and applying the intuitive aspects of mind in performance.

Abby Whiteside, “On Piano Playing”

An excellent treatise on advanced technical concepts and the source of fine performance.

Betty Edwards, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”

Excellent cross training for piano players… Fabulous insights and studies that enable you to tap into the intuitive side of your mind.  She teaches by challenging you to perform tasks that the logical (left) side of your brain cannot do.

Mel Levine, “A Mind at a Time”

A must read for all teachers and parents and students, no matter what the subject at hand… A fascinating glimpse into the uniqueness and diversity with which our brains are wired, with much practical guidance to maximize learning potential.

Hal Galper, “Forward Motion”

A structured approach with lots of insights into the true nature of the elusive subject of jazz improvisation… A nice blend of logic and intuition, dense with practice tips and exercises that will broaden and deepen your musical understanding, even if jazz is not your bag.

Randy Halberstadt, “Metaphors for the Musician”

The title does not do justice to the enormous range of coverage in this gem… How to learn a new piece, practical fingering tips, comping, the demystification of music theory, improv insights and exercises, and how to live a happier life as a musician (and human being).

Stephen Nachmanovitch, “Free Play”

Hands down, this is THE most concise, insightful, and inspirational treatise on the true nature of improvisation and creativity in the arts and life in general.