I started a summer job so I’ve been a little behind on the updates etc… these days but I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you about a few books that I read while going through my undergrad that really helped or inspired me.
Most of these aren’t necessarily “Classical Guitar Books” (1 or 2 are) but they can help basically any aspiring musician who takes their craft seriously. I’d highly recommend ALL of these! Also please note that I will receive a small (and greatly appreciated!) commission should you decide to purchase one of these books after clicking on the links below! Full Disclosure
I’ll probably add a permanent link to this page and keep updating as I find cool new books as well!
Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within by Kenny Werner
I got this book from a good friend of mine who thought I might like it. Boy was he right!
I think at the time I was in my 3rd year of studies and was having some pretty serious issues overcoming my stage fright. I could play quite well by myself or in the company of a few friends but put me up on stage with a classical guitar and things just went to pieces!
Kenny Werner is an outstanding Jazz pianist who talks about various ways to not only cope with stage fright but how to really unlock your potential and gave me a completely different way of understanding what I was doing when I was walking out on stage in front of people to play my instrument.
Very humbling and inspiring and I would suggest anyone who has ever played any instrument take the time to read this book!
Joys and Sorrows By Pablo Casals
Anyone who enjoys reading would enjoy this book! Pablo is as eloquent a story teller as he is a musician and his life is simply remarkable. For me as a guitarist it was cool to hear about his meetings and friendships with composers such as Granados and many of the other Spanish composers whose works now seem as if they were composed for the Classical Guitar more than for the Piano.
Starting from his birth and spanning his 90+ year life this book is nothing but a source of sheer inspiration. As I said before, you definitely don’t need to be a musician to appreciate this book.
I think it’s getting harder to find new copies but there are still a few “reasonably” priced copies used and new on Amazon.
Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music by Glenn Kurtz
Glenn walks us through his childhood while learning how to play guitar – to his university days – to giving up the instrument entirely! – to coming back to it in later life (maybe I shouldn’t have said that part). All in a very inspiring way.
It’s a really interesting look at the struggles and mental battles that go on in the heads of many music students, such as explaining to older relatives “what” it is your doing, constantly judging yourself against your peers, the search for a “meaningful” interpretation, the realization that you probably won’t be famous or the endless hours spent inside a tiny practice room…
For anyone who has gone through or is considering attending a university music program – Read This!
Classical Guitar Specific:
Pumping Nylon By Scott Tennant
My copy travelled with me through 4 years of undergrad and I still use it to this day. It has pretty much every technical exercise (a long with the Giuliani 120 right hand studies) that any classical guitarist could ever need and then some.
There are also some pretty cool sounding pieces in the book that were composed specifically for it and one of these days I’m going to sit down and really give them the time they deserve!
I haven’t watched the video but from what I’ve heard it’s pretty great as well.