Updated: Apr 10
To me, books are the best place to get quality, vetted information along with bouts of inspiration. YouTube and online tutorials are fantastic, but books are even better if you want your mind to be blown while sipping a cup of coffee in the morning, far far away from the artificial light of your computer monitor. Best of all, it is technically research, isn't it?
#1 For current and practical industry guidance that feels achievable...
How To Make It In The New Music Business - Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand has established himself as a music industry super-guru. If you don't believe me take a look at his website 'Ari's Take' if you're curious about literally anything about the music industry, from PROs to licensing to email marketing. This book covers anything you might need to know about—i.e. transitioning from your coffee shop job to touring the world and making a living on your music. Blunt, helpful, and fat-trimmed, this book carries more kick than a cup of coffee.
#2 For musical growth and a new appreciation...
The Music Lesson - Victor Wooten
If you remember the required reading material in high school, you can relate to my resistance to being forced to read this book when I was attending Berklee College of Music. But, alas, after reading the thing cover to cover in about a week I realized why it was part of the curriculum. Victor Wooten is truly a devout spiritual believer in this thing called 'Music' and has such a unique take on it. This book basically gives you access to the inside of his genius brain. Guaranteed to make you feel enlightened.
#3 For hearing the music in everything you do...
The Musical Life - W.A. Mathieu
This is one of those books that was recommended to me from a mystery source, so I have nobody to thank. I love this book. It's basically a collection of short stories from the author, W.A. Mathieu, that act as musical epiphanies and discoveries that he's experienced over the course of his 'musical life.' This is a great, light read, and each paragraph will give you a new idea to mull over as you write your next tune.
#4 For a kick in the ass to get you out of writer’s block...
The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
This book is for you if you've ever procrastinated on a writing session or felt stuck in your creativity. An honest, sometimes hard-to-swallow truth about creativity, writer's block, and Resistance with a capital 'R.' Pressfield takes any excuse you had for not finishing that album, or not writing another song, and squashes it, along with any self-doubt you might have had. Ironically, I haven't finished it yet, but I bet it's great (just kidding).
#5 For heightened hearing and a practical understanding of acoustics...
Spaces Speak, Are you Listening? - Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter
This book by Barry Blessar and Linda-Ruth Salter is meant for you if you never want to be able to walk around outside without hearing literally everything, including the buildings surrounding you. This book describes acoustics in a way that you can hear in your day-to-day life. You'll have a new appreciation for architecture and a new irritation for loud restaurants. Highly recommended if you have plans to become a bat in the next few years.