A Book for Every Musician in Your Life

October 2, 2020

There’s nothing that says ‘I care about you and your interests’ quite like a book does. Because there are so many to choose from, books can be tailored to every person and personality under the sun. However, this can make it difficult to know what is the right one for your musical friend (especially if you are not musically inclined yourself!) Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with a list of books for every musician in your life.

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For the Musician who is still mastering their craft:

The Vintage Guide to Classical Music: An Indispensable Guide for Understanding and Enjoying Classical Music

This book is the perfect companion for your friend who’s still getting their degree in music. Not only does it feature a glossary of musical terms, but it also goes into detail about the lives of almost 100 composers and their impact on the world of classical music today. Compared to their other textbooks, this one will feel like a breeze to read!


For the Musician who wants to become a better ally:

The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States

We honestly believe every musician should be this kind of musician, so really this is a book for everyone on this list! Following Black Music from its roots in Africa, author Samuel A. Floyd Jr. proves that there needs to be a new critical approach to the study of the genre and provides a framework to do so.


For the Church Musician who likes to play Baroque music on Sundays:

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician

Often cited as the best piece of scholarship on Bach (and rightfully so since it almost won a Pulitzer in 2001!), this book offers an intimate portrayal of the man so many of us know the name of but know so little about. A great read to help you get ready for a densely packed virtual concert season of Bach music!


For the Musician going on vacation:

Mozart’s Starling

As much as we love books that read like textbooks, we also love books that read like stories (and sometimes those are a little bit better to bring with you when you’re trying to take a mental break!) Though this book is non-fiction, it tells the story of Mozart’s beloved bird in tandem with the author’s own fascination with the intelligent starling.


For the Musician who is a little obsessed with the Classical Era (and refuses to play anything else):

Conversations with Beethoven

This one is both a work of non-fiction and fiction. In the last year of his life, Beethoven did carry around a book in which his family and friends would write questions or comments in order to communicate with him. Author Sanford Friedman uses these entries to inspire his novel, filling in the gaps in order to paint a better picture of the composer’s relationship with his beloved nephew, Karl.


For the Musician who needs to work on their performance style:

The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present

Learning from the masters is sometimes the best way to learn more about yourself. This book covers how the greatest pianists in history, from Lizst to Van Cliburn, performed and what made them superb at their craft.


For the Musician who has a knack for improvisation:

DownBeat – The Great Jazz Interviews: A 75th Anniversary Anthology

Hearing straight from the mouth of the artist is the best way to get a sense for who they were and why they did what they did. This book is an anthology of 75 years worth of interviews with famous jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gilespie, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington, just to name a few.


For the Little Musician who’s just starting out:

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

Every once in a while, there is a book that has the power to impact future generations for the better. This book is one of them. Telling the story of contralto Marian Anderson’s historic performance at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, young and old readers will learn a thing or two.

Happy reading to you and yours!

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