General Quotes

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
Frank Zappa

The subtlest spirit of a nation is expressed through its music—and
the music acts reciprocally on the nation’s very soul.
Walt Whitman

Sound is the most powerful force in the Universe.
Music is a divine art, to be used not only for pleasure
but as a path to God-realization.
Paramahansa Yogananda

Music is the best medium for awakening the soul;
there is nothing better. Music is the shortest,
the most direct way to God;
but one must know what music and how to use it.
Hazrat Inyat Khan

Since music is the only language with the
contradictory attributes of being at once intelligible
and untranslatable, the musical creator is a being
comparable to the gods, and music itself the
supreme mystery of the sciences of man.
Claude Levi Strauss

A musician with a belief in God brings to God
the beauty and the perfume and the color of his soul.
Hazrat Inyat Khan

What art cannot express, poetry explains;
and what poetry cannot express, is expressed in music.
Therefore to a pure soul music in all ages will stand supreme
as the highest expression of what is deepest in one’s self.
Hazrat Inyat Khan

Music is the creaking of the portal to Paradise. 

Music is the universal language,
God is its center, infinity its circumference.
If you learn music, you learn history. 
If you learn music, you learn mathematics. 
If you learn music, you learn most all there is to learn. 
Edgar Casey

Musical tradition is important but not fixed. 
It evolves through encounters. 
A Tibetan Master quoted by D. Rothenberg

The highest mission of music
is to serve as a link between God and man.
The artist is the last champion of the individual mind 
and sensibility against an intrusive society.
John F. Kennedy

Music is so powerful because it is a spiritual art. 
You have to be really careful how you use it, 
what you put on it because it gets right to the heart. 
Artists have a huge responsibility 
to feed the soul good things, positive things. 
Bobby McFerrin

The universe is more like music than matter. 
Donald Andrews

Music is life's only true magic, 
treat it with all the respect that it deserves.
Bruce Swedien

When you read music, 
there is a part of your creativity that shuts down. 
It's like learning to paint with coloring books. 
It's like coloring within the lines-you don't take off. 
When you think about it, 
what music notes or a coloring book does
 is stifles creativity.
David Lynch

It is the culture-conditioned mind, 
rather than the ears, 
that do the listening today.
No music is totally "pure" 
and the vitality of a tradition 
can be measured by its ability 
to integrate new contributions.
If western musicians had to rely on their ears 
instead of their eyes to create music, 
where would it be today and in what form?
Within music lies all the wonders and keys 
to the miracles of life – natural and spiritual. 
Music can facilitate the process of change and growth. 
Ted Andrews

Real music is not for wealth, not for honors 
or even the joys of the mind…
but is a path for realization and salvation.
Ali Akbar Khan

True knowledge of sound carries with it great power.
 It allows one to travel without moving. 
Joska Soos

Never before in the Western world 
have so many new instruments been devised 
and constructed as today. Only a few copies of
 each prototype are made in most cases, 
and in many instances there is only the original. 
Musicians make such instruments for themselves
--and and watch over them like a precious secret. 
Just as the masters of Asia have done for centuries
--however, it is important to stress 
that the young people who behave similarly in the West 
are not imitating Asian customs. 
The initiative was entirely theirs. 
In that respect too the instruments they build and play 
are also becoming part of the current of world music. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

That which cannot be expressed otherwise 
can only be told through music. 
A thought, which seems commonplace in its analysis, 
acquires a deeper sense in music. 

Music without words means leaving behind the mind. 
And leaving behind the mind is meditation. 
Meditation returns you to the source. 
And the source of all is sound. 

Music has eloquence of expression, 
greater than any other art.
The art of music is infinite yet complete in itself. 

Music is a higher revelation 
than all wisdom or philosophy. 

Mathematicians are able to break down 
into measure and figure 
what musicians do intuitively.
The art of music is endowed with a supernatural origin 
and a divine purpose, more so than any other art. 

Folk music is the "original melody" of man; 
it is the "musical mirror" of the world. 

The fact that the "world is sound" 
isn't just a widespread myth or legend. 
It is confirmed in the established findings 
of fundamental harmonic research 
and many other disciplines. 
We have found the world's tonal character 
confirmed in DNA genes and electron spins, 
in the solar wind and geomagnetism, in the weather
 and in the "song" of flowers and plants.
Ever since the time of his incarnation, 
man has progressively lost his original spiritual perception.
 This has worked to divorce music and language from the 
natural harmonies and rhythms, which were and remain 
the primordial condition of all things. 
Jocelyn Godwin

The characteristic healing power of music 
has been increasingly crippled in recent times, 
so that many have lost the desire even to listen to music, 
owing to the sheer, strident noise 
of the era of extreme materialism. 
Jocelyn Godwin

It was probably the introduction 
of tempered tuning in the 18th century 
that resulted in ever-greater atrophy 
of awareness of overtones in Western music. 
That was inevitable because tempered tuning 
amounts to negation of natural tuning, 
which is postulated in every single note 
by way of the accompanying overtone series. 
It is almost as if a piece played in tempered tuning
--and thus virtually all Western music--insists on 
correcting nature. Not a single note in such a piece
is heard in its natural relationships
--apart from the octave itself. 
Man's belief that he can do things better, reigns. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

In Eastern music, rich in overtones, 
the "system" creates the tones, 
whereas in Western music 
it is the notes that establish the system. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

Music is the archetype of the cosmic order, 
and as such the most genuine of a world restored, 
but this holds true only so long as it has not 
fallen victim to a chaotic way of thinking. 
Jocelyn Godwin

The more richly and consciously 
a music is endowed with overtones, 
the more timeless it is. 
The most timeless music on the planet 
comes from the great Indian classical tradition, 
which also disposes over 
the most differentiated awareness of harmonics.
O music, In your depths we deposit our hearts and souls. 
Thou hast taught us to see with our ears 
and hear with our hearts. 
Khalil Gibran

Beautiful music is the art of the prophets 
that can calm the agitations of the soul; 
it is one of the most magnificent 
and delightful presents God has given us.
Martin Luther

Music washes away from the soul 
the dust of everyday life.
Speech is man's most confused and egocentric expression, 
his most orderly and magnanimous utterance is music.
Ned Rorem

It is music's lofty mission to shed light 
on the depths of the human heart.
Robert Schumann

Music is the shorthand of emotion. 
Emotions, which let themselves be described 
in words with such difficulty, 
are directly conveyed to man in music, 
and in that is its power and significance.
Leo Tolstoy

Which of these two powers, love or music, 
can elevate man to the most sublime heights? 
Why separate them? 
They are the two wings of the soul.
Hector Berlioz

Wouldst thou know if a people be well governed,
 or if its laws be good or bad, 
examine the music it practices.

As the music is, so are the people of the country.
Turkish proverb

Music is a moral law. 
It gives a soul to the universe, 
wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, 
a charm to sadness and life to everything. 
Fine music is the essence of order 
and leads to all that is just and good, 
of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, 
passionate and eternal form.

Music is the soil in that 
the spirit lives, thinks and invents.
Ludwig van Beethoven

Music should go right through you, 
leave some of itself inside you 
and take some of you with it when it leaves.
See deep enough and you see musically, 
the heart of nature being everywhere music,
 if you can only reach it.
Thomas Carlyle

Music can exist only if it reflects 
the inner life of humanity, 
not the outer life of its technology.
Alec Wilder

All true and deeply felt music, 
whether secular or sacred, 
has its home on the heights 
where art and religion dwell.
Albert Schweitzer

The rotation of the universe 
and the motion of the planets could neither begin
 nor continue without music...for everything 
is ordered by God according to the laws of harmony.

There is geometry in the humming of the strings. 
There is music in the spacing of the spheres.

Music and religion are as intimately related 
as poetry and love. The deepest emotions 
require for their civilized expression
 the most emotional of the arts.
Will Durant

What is best in music 
is not to be found in the notes.
Gustav Mahler

After silence, that which comes nearest 
to expressing the inexpressible, is music.
Aldous Huxley

Music is the outward and audible signification 
of inward and spiritual realities.
Music is said to be the speech of angels, 
in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man
 is felt to be so divine. 
It brings us near to the infinite.
Thomas Carlyle

Mathematics is music for the mind; 
music is mathematics for the soul.

About Composing

A really musical soul is someone who has forgotten
himself in music; just as a real poet is someone who
forgets himself in poetry. All the greatest works, in all the arts,
would not have been created if their creators had not
forgotten themselves in their work. They altogether
lost the idea of their own being, and in that way
they deepened and became one with the thing
they had come to give to the world. The key to
perfection is to be found in forgetting the self.
Hazrat Inyat Khan

Notes are just one aspect of music, 
the aspect that can be written down. 
A shadow of the real thing, 
and an imperfect shadow at that. 
David Rothenberg

When composing, follow any thread 
but don’t pull on it.
You shouldn’t fret too much about “artist’s block.” 
If you are drawing a blank then go do something else. 
Artist’s block is just a symptom 
of feeling like you have nothing to say, 
combined with the rather weird idea that you 
should feel the need to say something.
Hugh MacLeod

To write great music, 
the musician must make his life a great song.
The practice of altering a composer's work 
was more prevalent before the romantic age. 
Bach and Handel rearranged the music of their contemporaries, 
either directly, or by incorporating it into a work of their own.
Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, 
endless self-correction, that is my secret. 
J.S. Bach

Music is glorious in its own right; 
why should it accept the slavery of words? 
Music begins where words end. T
he inexplicable is the domain of music. 
It can say what words cannot, 
and so the less the words disturb the song, the better. 

It is the duty of the composer to serve his fellow man, 
to beautify human life and point the way to a radiant future. 
Such is the immutable code of the artist as I see it.
Sergei Prokofiev

A poet always has too many words in his vocabulary, 
a painter too many colors on his palette, 
a musician too many notes on his keyboard.
Jean Coctau

We hide ourselves in our music to reveal ourselves.
Jim Morrison

The sacredness of church music, 
the joyfulness and soulfulness of folksongs 
are the two pivots around which revolve true music.
A nation creates music--the composer only arranges it.
Bela Bartok

I regard all popular music as irrelevant 
in the sense that people in 200 years won't be listening to what is being written and played today. 
I think they will be listening to Beethoven. 
That's one of the reasons I don't take myself seriously.
Elton John

It is proportion that beautifies everything, 
the whole universe consists of it, 
and music is measured by it.
Orlando Gibbons

Originality is the art of concealing your source.
You must have the composition in your head, 
not your head in the composition
The unconscious is the womb of all musical creation; 
all masterpieces are born there.
The value of a composer's work resides in the music itself, 
and not in how frequently it is played, 
how many honors its composer has won, 
or how much critical acclaim has been received.
A creative artist works on his next composition 
because he is not satisfied with his previous one. 
When he loses a critical attitude towards his own work, 
he ceases to be an artist.
The composer joins heaven and earth with threads of sound.
Do things, act. Make a list of the music you love, 
then learn it by heart. 
And when you are writing music of your own, 
write it as you hear it inside 
and never strain to avoid the obvious.
Nadia Boulanger

Melody is the golden thread 
running through the maze of tones
 by which the ear is guided and the heart reached.

About Performing

You’re never in a secure position. You’re never
at a point where you have it all sewn up.
You have to choose to be secure like a stone,
or insecure but able to flow.
Keith Jarrett

The key to staying in the zone is to stay with the music, 
to stay with your role as the messenger 
who brings the audience this gift. 
This is your obligation and your pleasure.
Barry Green

When we recognize that the zone exists 
and allow ourselves to be touched by it, 
we can enter a world of balance, perfection and beauty.
In this space, we are able to perform 
from a place of potential that we often don’t realize
 exists within each and every one of us. 
This place of musical magic is always there, 
as close as our own concentration. 
Barry Green

In the world of musical performance 
you are most in control when you’re least aware of it.
Yehudi Menuhin

The better we can understand our feelings, 
the better we can express ourselves, 
which is why it is often more interesting 
to hear people play as they get older.
Robert Cohen

When the focus is on the music, you can get lost
 in your natural ability to express yourself. 
When your focus is on people’s opinions 
or on playing accurately, 
the music is lost 
and so will be your confidence.
Barry Green

In my view, it all comes back to the idea that 
playing music on the stage is a very godly thing; 
it comes from God, it is the most communicative,
 non-verbal, direct line to the heart. 
So you can deal with learning all the notes 
and technique, but if you haven’t learned 
the direct line to your heart, most probably 
you will not manage to do it tomorrow on stage. 
My idea of a true artist is someone 
who has all the technique at his disposal, 
but who also has a depth of being 
that comes through when he plays. 
Eddie Daniels

When you feel the sweep of the music 
flowing through you and trust the instincts 
you have established through passion and practice, 
you are far more likely to get the individual notes right
 and project the spirit of the music loud and clear. 
And it is that spirit of the music 
that the audience actually responds to.
Barry Green

When you perform a concert you can
never get the whole audience to feel the same way. 
It’s just like going to a restaurant 
and everyone ordering the same exact meal. 
Some may eat more quickly than others, 
others may mix the vegetables in a different way 
or in different combinations 
or not like a particular vegetable served. 
So the meal will not taste the same to everyone. 
It’s the same way in a concert. 
They come into that hall with all different reasons
 as to why they are there—some coming from work, 
some just curious, some may play the instrument
 you are performing on, some you may have 
become acquainted with before the concert, 
some who had a crisis at home or work—this stuff 
in life all affects how they will digest the music. 
Even the sound of the instrument I’m playing will not 
sound the same to the people sitting in the balcony 
as to those sitting close to the stage. 
All I can do is be honest and serve the best dish possible.
Evelyn Glennie

If I play an F in a tune called ‘Peace’, 
I don’t think it should sound the same 
as an F that is supposed to express sadness.
Ornette Coleman

So often one can perform memorized music 
in the comfort of your private practice space. 
But expressing oneself in public 
demands a higher level of mastery.
Barry Green

There is no anxiety in the present. 
Anxiety is either in the past, 
worrying about what was just played, 
or in the future, 
worrying about what you are about to play. 
Nothing can be done about either. 
Don’t judge or evaluate while you perform.
Charles Schlueter

The process of merging with another individual in a duo
 or a larger group of musicians, or with an audience,
 is the essence of communication. 
There has to be a willingness to participate 
that comes from trusting or letting go
 to the energy and spirit of the music, whether 
you are a performer or a member of the audience. 
This communication is made possible 
by the silent rhythm that connects everyone. 
This is what allows for spontaneous magic 
to lift people into a perfect synchrony 
where everyone can perform 
and experience the music as one.
Barry Green

You may have the ability to play an instrument, 
and your playing of that instrument 
may be recognized by the whole world. 
But if your repertoire, the pieces that you play, 
are limited to the inspiration of others, 
then you are merely a mechanical genius; 
You have the power to reproduce, 
but not the power to create.
Mark Prophet

The secret of effortless control is balance 
- continuous adjustment of continuous change. 
Like learning to ride a bike, using less and less means 
to control greater and greater power.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

The real authenticity we recognize 
is when the person is totally involved. 
If the art is created with the whole person, 
then the work will come out whole.
Stephen Nachmanovitch
The three ingredients for good music are 
pitch, passion and pocket.
Ed Seay

It is the finesse of the nuances and details 
that determines the quality of an interpretation.
Western musicians believe that the 
fundamental note is almost all that counts, 
so it occupies virtually all their attention. 
They are of the opinion that it "makes" the music. 
Eastern musicians have other experiences 
with their instruments. For them the "real" music 
derives from the overtones rather than the primary notes. 
The primary notes are only a tool, 
an extension of the instrument employed in this craft. 
In the view of Eastern musicians, anyone who remains 
at the level of the primary note, does not get beyond 
the admittedly important technical aspects of music making. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

The artist's mission in life is not 
to selfishly accumulate a lot of money by cheap trickery, 
but to use, in the finest manner of which he is capable, 
the rare gifts God has entrusted to him. 
John Garth

In music making, time and again mention is made of: 
listening, perceiving, taking one's time, being attentive, 
observing the inner aspects of what's happening, 
allowing things to unfold without interfering, 
and being conscious--in other words,
factors that are also important in meditation. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

High concentration brings unawareness and thus spontaneity.
Freedom in music is the liberty to become 
ever more perfectly what essentially you are.
Maintain your focus, live in your ears, 
and bring all energies to hearing. 
Traditional East Indian Teaching

Freedom for an artist is to be responsible to integrity, 
to honor, to the God-given destiny of his own soul. 
What does it profit a man to gain wealth and fame 
and intellectual ballyhoo, if he looses his own soul? 
Merrill Root

Limitation creates form. 

Only the flint of man's soul can strike fire in music.
Ludwig von Beethoven

The piece of music is worked out by the composer, 
but it is the performance which we enjoy. Thus the active
 and emotional principle in music occurs in the art
 of reproduction, which draws the eclectic spark from God
 and directs it towards the listener.
Don't play the notes. Play the meaning of the notes.
Pablo Casals

Music is the one thing in which there is no use 
trying to deceive others or make false pretenses.

I think the main thing a musician would like to do is 
to give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things
 he knows of and senses in the universe.
John Coltrane

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.
If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.
Charlie Parker

Risk is a crucial element of communication through music. 
Just as truly creative musicians must be willing to be open, 
to examine their inner life, to throw aside familiar comforts
 and plunge into the unknown, 
so they must take risks during performance.
If there is to be communication with the listener, 
the musician's doors leading inward must stay open. 
Through this opening, the listener is invited 
into the reality of the musician.
 This involves risk for the performer. 
The inner world of the musician, the creative fount, 
is personal and sacred.
In a performance setting, there can be no monologues. 
Every note, every breath, each moment 
sends messages between musician and listener. 
To ignore this two-way flow of feeling and meaning 
is to relinquish artistry for ego-gratification.
Competition is for horses, not artists.
Bela Bartok

We can never exhaust the multiplicity of nuances 
and subtleties, which make the charm of music. 
How can we expect to produce a vital performance 
if we don't recreate the work every time? 
Every year the leaves of the trees reappear with the spring 
but they are different every time.
Pablo Casals

A musician just has to learn for himself, 
just by playing and listening. There is no one 
who can write down the feeling you have to have. 
That's from inside yourself. The music has to let you be, 
you've got to stay free inside it.
An abundance of technique should not be a means to an end 
but a way to allow the heart to expand freely.
Notation, the writing out of compositions, is primarily
 an ingenious expedient for catching an inspiration, 
with the purpose of exploiting it later. 
But notation is to improvisation 
as the portrait to the living model. 
It is up to the interpreter 
to resolve the rigidity of the signs into the emotion.
The heart of a melody can never be put down on paper.
Pablo Casals

The written note is like a straightjacket, 
whereas music, like life itself, is constant movement, 
continuous spontaneity, free from any restrictions.
The musician must bring to the performance the utter confidence
 in the ability of the spirit to reach out to the souls of the audience. 
This faith may be the most important quality 
the musician can contribute to the performance. 
Without it, even the most technically adroit will fail
to fulfill the role of music as divine communicator. 
The ego, that self-hoping for acclaim, 
must be relinquished at this time.
 While it has been a motivating force 
in propelling one toward certain musical goals, 
at the moment of performance, 
the ego must be set aside so that the spirit may be heard.
Your playing must have conviction. It should show 
the measure of your belief in what you know to be true, 
to the point where you would stake your life on it. 
The inner fire must always show through. 
Play from the inside out; 
your sound should stem from the conviction of your soul. 
This is what makes vital music.
Philip Toshio Sudo

About Improvisation

The more experience you have in music,
the more profound simplicity becomes.
Keith Jarrett

To be as free as a bird while improvising,
you have to be ready to fly.

Once the significance of improvisation is recognized 
one has to re-examine the significance of paper and notation 
as diagnostic features of true music,
 and stop thinking that the mark of true art 
is the time devoted to its explicit preparation. 
Through improvisation, a vital dialogue 
between the musician and his music is established, 
where the music becomes alive 
in a way not possible through notation.
With improvisation the initiated listener 
is an indispensable source of inspiration.
 It is collectively based, socially experienced 
and outwardly directed. 
In contrast, composing portrays creativity 
as being highly introspective, 
individual-centered and creator focused. 
Accordingly society, or the public, 
is a potential source of distraction and a threat to 
the artist’s solitude, composure and concentration. 
Ali Jihad Racy

Improvisation, at its highest levels, 
calls for a type of spontaneous interaction 
which is managed intuitively 
but is based on deeply internalized experience. 
Bjorn Alterhaug

Interpreters of written music practice 
with the aim of giving a faithful representation 
of a known piece in performance. 
Improvisers also practice, 
but with the aim of being better prepared 
for the leap into the unknown.
Improvisation makes waves through traditions 
and for any tradition to endure 
it must allow for spontaneous creativity
Improvisation is not the expression of accident, 
but rather the accumulated yearnings, 
dreams, and wisdom of our very soul. 
Yehudi Menuhin

When improvising you share your personality with the listeners
 in ways that the composed genres don’t permit. 
Iranian Musician
My way of preparing to create spontaneously 
is not to be prepared. 
And that takes a lot of preparation.
Lee Konitz 
Improvisation is valuable because it is closer to the original idea. 
Andy Hamilton

Improvisation should be at the core of the music curriculum.
It should come first 
and should remain at the core of music education
  throughout the later years of increasing expertise. 
Musicians educated with improvisation at the center 
will have a better developed ability to think musically
—to deeply understand music 
as well as be better prepared to interpret written scores. 
R. Keith Sawyer

Composing will always be a memory of inspiration; 
improvising is live inspiration, 
something happening at that very moment.
Do not fear mistakes. There are none.
Miles Davis

I don’t think. Thinking is the enemy. 
If you want to create art, 
you sometimes have to make a mess. 
You have to take the time to experiment. 
You can’t get side-tracked by perfection issues
 if you want to be a great artist. 
You have to take chances 
–and a certain percentage of them
 are not going to bake. Sometimes 
during an improvisation I’ll hit an absolute clam. 
Over the years, I have learned to say, 
“Hmmm, this is interesting. I’ll see where this goes.”
Fred Hersch

Improvising is the most natural and widespread form 
of music making. Up until the last century, it was integral 
even to our literate musical tradition in the West.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Many western musicians are fabulously skilled 
at playing black dots on a printed page, 
but mystified by how the dots got there in the first place
 and apprehensive of playing without dots. 
Music theory does not help here; 
it teaches rules of the grammar, but not what to say. 
The real story of improvisation is spontaneous expression, 
and is therefore a spiritual and a psychological story 
rather than a story about the technique.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Trying to realize the essence of creating music 
by using dots on a page is no more possible 
than realizing the essence of painting by using coloring books.
Todd Green

Improvisation, it is a mystery. 
You can write a book about it, 
but by the end no one still knows what it is. 
When I improvise and I'm in good form, 
I'm like somebody half sleeping. 
I even forget that there are people in front of me. 
Great improvisers are like priests, 
they are thinking only of their God.
Stephane Grappelli

The fruits of improvising may flower spontaneously, 
but it arises from soil 
that we have prepared, fertilized, and tended 
in the faith that it will ripen in nature's own time.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

The primary function of improvisation 
is to be expressive and emotional; 
to improvise, one must be in a certain state, 
and at the same time, improvisation, 
by inducing surprise and novelty, provides the interpreter
 with a special emotion that is perceived 
as the effect of a transcendental inspiration. 
Dariush Safvat

Composing is the "ego-trip par excellence". 
The musical activity most diametrically opposed to composing 
is improvising. We know that there are some cultures 
where the composer dominates—above all in Western music 
and others where the improviser rules, 
as almost everywhere else in the world. 
However, both improvisers and composers 
exist in almost all cultures, and there are borderline cases 
where it is often not possible to determine whether 
something has been composed or is being improvised. 
In most cases it turns out that what was originally improvised 
has been repeated so often over the course of time 
that it has taken on the character of something composed 
even though it is not written down. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

The joy in improvising while singing and playing 
is evident in almost all phases of music history. 
It is always a powerful force in the creation of new forms 
and every historical study that confines itself 
to the practical and theoretical sources 
that have come down to us in writing or in print, 
without taking into account the improvisational element
 in living musical practice, must of necessity 
present an incomplete, indeed a distorted picture. 
For there is scarcely a single field in music 
that has remained unaffected by improvisation, 
scarcely a single musical technique or form of composition 
that did not originate in improvisatory practice 
or was not essentially influenced by it. 
The whole history of the development of music is 
accompanied by manifestations of the drive to improvise.
E.T. Ferand

The first challenge of an improvising artist 
is to unify the diverse response of an audience 
so that it becomes a part of the creation. This co-creation 
exists in a timeless area of subconscious communication 
where the improviser becomes the articulate voice of the group. 
The compassion of this inspired moment of unity 
is the reason for improvised music.
Dave Brubeck

Improvisation is the only art form 
in which the same note can be played night after night 
but differently each time. 
It is the hidden things, the subconscious 
that lets you know you feel this, you play this.
Ornette Coleman

It is a truism, that many of the recorded improvised masterpieces 
are of a technical complexity, which would be 
quite beyond the ability of their creators to play them, 
where they faced with the notes written out as a composition.
Benny Green

Improvisation is not the expression of accident 
but rather of the accumulated yearnings, 
dreams and wisdom of our very soul.
Yehudi Menuhin

To many, improvisation seems to be the most difficult aspect of music,
 but in reality, it is the most natural.
Western classical music is no longer creatively active 
but is conserved in conservatories where interpreters study 
the seminal texts in order to restore them to life.
Music that is written down is as dead 
as frozen thoughts trapped in words. 
Music that lives cannot be caught, 
it always eludes capture.  
A Mystic Rabbi quoted by D. Rothenberg

About Practicing

We are not losing, we’re learning how to win.
Scott Brooks, OK Thunder Coach (after playoff loss)

Anyone who hones a passion for excellence of any kind
into a disciplined art—gladly foregoes some things to attain a
refinement through discipline that brings immense vitality and joy.
David Steindl

I used to say in clinics that anybody can be 
as good as me—all they have to do is practice. 
And yet I don’t think it’s as simple as that. 
It’s not easy to get someone to practice the way I practice, 
it’s not easy to get someone to be as excited as I am. 
That inner motivation I have 
is hard for others to manufacture.
Eddie Daniels

The more you feel music, 
the faster technique falls into place. 
There are musicians who work 
on simple techniques for years with little progress. 
That is because their attention 
has been on technique, not music.
“Michael” in The Music Lesson

Technique is not music. 
Music is the thousandth of a millisecond 
between one note and another; 
how you get from one to the other 
–that’s where the music is.
Isaac Stern

When we explode the artificial categories
 of exercise and real music, each tone we play 
is at once an exploration of technique 
and a full expression of spirit.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Don't mistake activity for achievement. 
Busyness does not equal productiveness.
Let the time you spend with art 
flow through three natural phases: 
invocation... work...gratitude.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Acquiring a technique in the world of music 
is a much misunderstood term. 
If there is a technique at all, 
it is the drawing out and integrating 
of all parts of the person. 
One needs imagination with clarity, 
drive with sensitivity.
Herbert Whone

To do anything artistically 
you have to acquire technique, 
but create through your technique and not with it. 
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Patience is the key to learning music. 
It requires time to take root in the soul 
before it can blossom. 
There is no rushing nature.
Nancy Lesh

What counts is not the number of hours you put in, 
but how much you put in the hours.
We think of practice as an activity 
done in a special context 
to prepare for performance or the "real thing." 
But if we split practice from the real thing, 
neither of them will be very real.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Some people succeed because they are destined to, 
but most people succeed 
because they are determined to.
Concentrate on your task.

If we do not strive for inner perfection,
we will remain what we are now, talking animals. 
The perfect man, the complete man, 
lies within each of us.
Singing instrumental music is most important 
because, while you play an instrument, 
you are singing through the instrument
...actually, you are singing inside. 
Ali Akbar Khan

Intensify your path, immerse yourself in sound.
Joska Soos

The difference between good and great is consistency.

The start of every true advance 
must be accompanied by a readiness 
for sacrifice and involvement. In addition, 
one must also have the capacity fully and willingly 
to acknowledge something greater than oneself. 
Marius Schneider

Though it is good to start your study of an instrument 
with a classically trained musician, because of their 
attention to detail and desire for purity of sound, 
at a certain point you need to move away, 
because their obsession with "perfection" 
is life threatening to the music.
Whoever learns by listening, mainly playing 
his own music, and doing without notation 
(or at most making reluctant and incomplete use 
of its possibilities), leaves music where it belongs: 
In time where listening is the prime sense. 
Whoever learns a piece of music by reading it, 
principally playing the music of others 
and perfecting notation to an ever greater extent,
transports music into an ultimately alien dimension: 
Into space whose cardinal sense is seeing. 
Joachim-Ernst Berendt

Sarasate, the great Spanish violinist of the last century,
was once called a genius by a famous critic. 
In reply to this, Sarasate shook his head and snorted: 
"Genius! For thirty-seven years I have practiced 
14 hours a day,and now they call me a genius."
Perfect your art in the wee hours of the morning, 
when all is still.
Nicolas Roerich

Teaching music is not my main purpose. 
I want to make good citizens. 
If children hear fine music from the day of their birth
and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, 
 discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.
Shinichi Suzuki

Repetitious practice without proper attention to detail
probably does more harm than good.
The question is whether a noble song is produced 
by nature or by knowledge. I neither believe in mere labor 
being of avail without a rich vein of talent, 
nor in natural ability which is not educated.
Horace (65 - 8 B.C.)

Music is enough for a lifetime, 
but a lifetime is not enough for music.
Sergei Rachmaninoff

Musical training is a more potent instrument 
than any other, because rhythm and harmony 
find their way into the secret places of the soul.

Practice in minute detail until every note is imbued with 
 internal life and has taken its place in the overall design.
Pablo Casals

By concentrating on precision, 
one arrives at technique, 
but by concentrating on technique 
one does not arrive at precision.
Many people say that too much study 
kills spontaneity in music, 
but although study may kill a small talent, 
it is a must to develop a big one.
George Gershwin

Repetition is the mother of talent.
Technique is the ability to lay open 
the basic sense of a great work of art, 
to make it clear.
The music teacher came twice a week 
to bridge the awful gap between Dorothy and Chopin.
George Ade

Inspiration / Creativity 

I try to simplify everything to get to the essence.
Alan Hovhaness

Follow your essence and don’t let anything or anybody
talk you out of it. You’ll embark on a trip where
you’ll come into contact with it, and it will take over.
George Russell

The creative part of us is receptive not active.
Jamie Catto

Talent hits a target no one else can hit;
genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Your music can never be more or less
than you are as a human being
Nadia Boulanger

Creativity is a matter of translating messages of passion, 
excitement and soul into our own musical language 
through structure, harmony, rhythm and style. 
We ourselves are made up of everything 
to which we have been exposed. 
Even the study of one style of music 
may involve a blend of many cultures, 
and broader our exposure 
and the more sensitive our inner listening, 
the richer our unique voice will be. 
Barry Green

The moment of inspiration is a special moment, 
and you have to be courageous and go with it. 
You can’t stop and analyze things when the moment comes, 
you need to be ready to discard whatever you are working on,
 and the decision time may be no more than a millisecond. 
Most people decide not to go with it.
Libby Larsen

Many of the great artists are innate perfectionists. 
They cannot bear the lack of perfection around them. 
It hurts them down to their soul. 
They have an intense devotion to what they are doing, 
this real conviction that costs them much psychic energy. 
Musicians with this kind of perfectionism 
pull everybody around them into their own energy; it is wonderful. 
The rest of us should be grateful to people like that, 
who demand a certain level of concentration 
that can bring everybody around them up to their own level.
Federica von Stade

Real understanding does not come from what we learn in books; 
it comes from what we learn from love
—love of nature, love of music, of our fellow man. 
For only what is learned in that way is truly understood.
Pablo Casals

It is far more profitable for you to focus on creativity than on talent.
For it is within your power to become more creative, 
no matter what the upper limits of your talent may be. 
And by being creative you make the most of your talents. 
Eric Maisel

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. 
But it sometimes seems that intense desire 
creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
Eric Hoffer

If you’re arranging your life in such a way
 that you need to make a lot of fuss 
between feeling the itch and getting to work 
you’re putting the cart before the horse. 
You have to find a way of working that makes it dead easy 
to take full advantage of your inspired moments. 
They never hit at a convenient time, nor do they last long.
Hugh MacLeod

Instead of tethering oneself to a rigid work ethic, 
hone the qualities of receptivity, 
attentiveness, and mindfulness, 
seeking to bring all of one’s experiences, 
including unproductive periods of infertility and idleness
into one uninterrupted state of mind.
The creative process needs peace and time 
unencumbered by guilt and pressure to produce, 
and even during periods of stagnation and apparent indolence, 
an artist must prepare internally 
for what will emerge later as his art.
Ulrich Baer

Playing or composing music requires 
supreme patience, a giving in to the process. 
The musician must discover satisfaction 
not so much in the end result, but in the act of doing. 
This requires faith, 
and all who have faith are quite brave.
People are artistically creative 
when they love what they are doing, 
know what they are doing, 
and actively engage in art–making. 
The three elements of creativity are thus 
loving, knowing, and doing; 
heart, mind and hands.
Eric Maise

Split attention, half-hearted involvement, 
is incompatible with creativity.
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Part of being a master is learning 
how to sing in nobody else’s voice but your own. 
Put your whole self into it, and you will find your true voice. 
Hold back and you won’t. It’s that simple
Hugh MacLeod

To be a true musician, play music, not instruments. 
That means play music and use particular instruments to do so. 
Music is inside you not inside the instrument. 
This understanding allows you to use any instrument
 or no instrument at all.
“Michael” in The Music Lesson

The really good artists figure out how to circumvent 
their limitations, turn their weaknesses into strengths. 
Don’t make excuses. Just get on with it. 
Time waits for no one. 
Hugh MacLeod

About Health & Wholeness

What brings illness is the thought of illness rather than
the illness itself. The existence of illness in the body
may be called a shadow of the true illness
which is held by man in his mind.
Hazrat Inyat Khan

If you constantly have to have medical procedures undertaken,
whether self-administered or with a doctor, swallow daily
a multitude of chemicals or pills, all of this will make it
more and more likely that you will think that you are the body.
Without giving up this concept, spiritual freedom is not possible.
For this reason, yoga loosens the identification with the body
more and more by not giving you any reason to identify with it.
The body is simply there, functioning and supporting you perfectly,
without constantly asking you to attend to its needs.
Gregor Maehle

Eat your food but don’t let your food eat you.
Paramahansa Yogananda

We are so far removed from simplicity! We hear and read things like this: "Lack of scientific information and illness go hand-in-hand. Health is a result of research; research costs money; money is essential to health." But what about the millions of people in the history of the world who led full lives long before science became so important, and on much less money than we spend today.

Never eat what you like. 
Rather, eat what you know is good for you. 
Great wisdom is required here. 
To eat the wrong food 
is to sustain pride in its supreme folly,
so that pride food poisons not only the body, 
but the soul with it.
Roy Masters

Many dishes cause many diseases. 
A simple diet is best.

We are so far removed from simplicity! 
We hear and read things like this: 
"Lack of scientific information and illness go hand-in-hand. 
Health is a result of research; research costs money; 
money is essential to health." 
But what about the millions of people 
in the history of the world who led full lives 
long before science became so important, 
and on much less money than we spend today.

The wise eat to satisfy hunger, 
the foolish eat to satisfy appetite.
Michio Kushi

Illness is a crystallization of an error in our judgment, 
the tangible sign of a lack of natural orderliness in our lives.

Indeed hunger is the king of medicines: 
Listen, take hunger to heart, 
don't regard it with such contempt. 
Everything un-sweet is made sweet by hunger: 
Without hunger even delicacies have no savor.

Pure, whole food is a materialization of God. 
He is revealed to us in it and by means of it. 
Our body-converted food thus constitutes a speck of God Himself.

Yoga and macrobiotics help you grow old youthfully.
Excessive intake of fluids makes blood thin, which in turn weakens the immune system, and also thins nutrition, weakening the heart and kidneys as a result. In short, excessive eating and drinking is the cause of all illness.

Food can bring about healing and wholeness 
only when you eat the proper food 
in the proper quantity at the proper time.
Love is the greatest benefactor to health, 
and the greatest expression of love 
is to live within the natural order of life.
Carl Ferre

Father, bless this food which re-creates our bodies. 
May the hearing of your word 
re-create our souls.
Grace from Mount St. Mary's Abbey

Failure, either in health or affairs, 
means there has been a lack of self-control.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The temptation of Adam was in eating, 
and this is also your temptation 
until the day of resurrection.
Hasan of Basra

Light eating frees up energy 
for clear thinking and concentration.
Eat pure foods and you will 
think pure thoughts and lead a pure life.
What we don't like will not hurt us, 
but what we do like will.
Michio Kushi

We dig our graves with our own teeth.
Michio Kushi

It is important to consider the amount 
and kind of activity the individual is engaged in 
and the amount of food consumed 
relative to individual requirements. 
Even the most nutritious food, 
prepared in the best manner, 
can produce undesirable effects 
if more is eaten than necessary.
William Tara

VITALITY - All the energy needed 
to accomplish that which is desired. 
GOOD APPETITE - Not only for food, but for life itself, 
which can be satisfied without extravagance. 
DEEP AND PEACEFUL SLEEP - To be fully rested 
with no more than six hours of sleep in a day. 
GOOD MEMORY - Which is a reflection 
of the harmonious functioning of the nervous system 
and its capacity to recall past experiences 
and events as instruction for the future. 
GOOD HUMOR - A capacity to appreciate 
the paradoxical qualities of life 
and not to cling to unpleasant experiences. 
MOOD OF JUSTICE - A deep appreciation of the 
order of Nature and an understanding of cause and effect; 
the capacity to see long-range results of our daily actions.
Every illness is a musical problem, 
and every cure has a musical solution.

Enthusiasm is a vital force that energizes 
all the forces of your mind and body.
In assesing what we receive from the environment around us, 
it is important to note that everything we come in contact with 
can be considered "food". The definition of food is far too limited
 if we consider only what goes into our mouths. 
When we expand the definition of food, 
we see that all types of sensory information 
have the potential to be either productive or destructive. 
However, by placing emphasis on the more basic 
end of the scale, physical nourishment, 
we are acknowledging that there is a sequence and order
 in our ability to use that which the environment offers us 
toward our own evolution and understanding. 
In a very real sense, we are eating the world. 
We are absorbing and assimilating 
ever-broadening spectrums of information. 
A healthy person will have learned 
what types of food productively serve their development, 
and what types produce stagnation and degeneration. 
They are constantly seeking wider experience 
by placing themselves in exciting and unique situations, 
so that they can more effectively and more deeply 
understand the wonders of life. 
This process is served best by a high degree 
of physical vitality and adaptability -- health.
William Tara

About Spiritual Awakening

CHRISTIANITY: "Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men do to you,
do ye even so to them."
St. Matthew 7:12

JUDAISM: "And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Leviticus 19:18

ISLAM: "No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother
what he loves for himself."
Mohammed: Traditions

BUDDHISM: "Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."
Buddha-Udanavarga 5:18

HINDUISM: "Good people proceed while considering that what is best for others, is best for themselves."

CONFUCIANISM: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."
Confucious-Analects 15:23

Seek truth in meditation,
not in moldy books.
Look in the sky to find the moon,
not in the pond.
Persian Proverb

God is the only temptor. And why shouldn’t He tempt us
to see if we want lesser things or Him alone.
Paramahansa Yogananda

In prayer it’s better to have a heart without words
than words without a heart.
John Bunyon

He who knows, tells it not;
He who tells, knows it not.

The winds of grace blow all the time;
all we need to do is set our sails.
Paramahansa Yogananda

Every person from morning till night is making
an invisible form in space by what he says.
He is creating invisible vibrations around him
and he is thereby producing an atmosphere.
Hazrat Inyat Khan

Words spoken without soul force
are like husks without corn.
Paramahansa Yogananda

According to the degree of purity of the heart
you have attained, the greatness of life will be reflected.
Dag Hammarskjold

The iron filings of karma are attracted only when
a magnet of the personal ego still exists.
Paramahansa Yogananda

Your life will be shaped by either fear of love.
Which will it be?
When the subject is our soul, strain, discomfort and
ambition will get us nowhere. In many life situations we
have learned this trio will get us forward. Not so with
spiritual work. This trio is caused by our conditioning.
Pranayama is a method for loosening and deleting
negative conditioning so that we experience life
and the world as they truly are
not according to the painful imprints of the past.
Gregor Maehle

Filling the mind with even the highest of spiritual
teachings will not lead to liberation. Forget all you know,
observe your experience and freedom will follow.
Discover the sacred in the ordinary.
God will not come to you until there is
unconditional love and service.
Paramahansa Yogananda

When our heart is in the right place
and brimming with love,
everything becomes prayer.
David Steindl

To love is our soul purpose.
With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we can see into the life of things. 
Henry Wordsworth

Love is the keynote,
Joy is the music,
Power is the strain,
Knowledge is the performer,
The Infinite All is the composer and the audience. 
Sri Aurobindo

Honest is that one who adjust his thinking to reality; 
dishonest that one who adjusts reality to his thinking. 
Arabic saying

We should not waste our time dividing God all day. 

Saints are sinners who never gave up.
The histrionics of life are a motion picture shown in 
the movie house of God; His individualized selves are the actors 
who have become lost in identification with their portrayals. 
Paramahansa Yogananda

Knowledge should never become a substitute for wisdom 
which is a combination of experience and compassion. 
Mark Prophet

Meditation puts you in a position where God can find you.
Roy Masters

Fear says, ‘I want to keep you safe.’ Love says, ‘You are safe.’
Ram Dass

Why should you "love thy neighbor as thyself";
because you are your neighbor;
a mere illusion makes you believe 
that your neighbor is something different than yourself.
Idries Shah

He who knows himself in everything 
and everything in himself,
will not injure himself by himself.
The Bhagavad Gita

Look forward and be hopeful, look backward and be thankful,
look down and be helpful, look up and be humble.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy, 
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted, and behold, service was joy.

Not everything that happens will be enjoyable, 
and not every word that you hear will be kind, 
yet receive everything as a gift and a teaching.
King Salomon

Be like the sun for grace and mercy. 
Be like the night to cover others' faults. 
Be like running water for generosity. 
Be like death for rage and anger. 
Be like the Earth for modesty. 
Appear as you are. Be as you appear.

Duty is ours; consequences are God's.
Stonewall Jackson

The struggle of life is largely a struggle to get organized,
to gather together a certain coherence within ourselves.
Kabir Edmund Helminski

If we examine our lives without the benefit of 
psychological sophistry and New Age babble, 
you will see that we are either disciplined or lazy, 
doing good or doing bad, curbing our desires 
or succumbing to them. We are either wise or ignorant. 
We are either a student of wisdom or a puppet of desire.
Rabbi Shapiro

We must not wish for the disappearance of our troubles
but for the grace to transform them.
Simone Well

The mouse is nothing but a nibbler. To the mouse is given 
a mind  proportionate to its need, for without need, 
the Almighty doesn't give anything to anyone. 
Need, then, is the net for all things that exist! 
Man has tools in proportion to his need.
So, quickly, increase your need, needy one,
that the sea of abundance may surge up in loving kindness.

Seeking after that which is beyond ones reach
is the oil which feeds the flame of hope.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Pain is the breaking of the shell 
which encloses your understanding.
A small seed, which has neither force nor arms,
accepts conditions of darkness, pressure, cold and dampness.
Instead of complaining or blaming others,
it uses these conditions as sources of energy.
In the same way, man can lead a free life
and be at peace with himself.
George Ohsawa

Man, as the most intelligent of God's creatures,
is not supposed to lead his life as he wishes to lead it,
but to consider the duty for which he is born
and the service he must render to God and His creatures.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Is there no defense against desire?
Listen to me; let wisdom reign in your heart,
and do not race after every emotion.
Do not assume that pleasure is the same as goodness,
or that feelings are a guide to righteousness.
Desire has slain many mightier than you.
The way of undisciplined desire leads only to the grave.
King Salomon

There are three journeys: The journey away from God,
the journey back to God and the journey within God.
Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee

If you have faith and doubt not...
then all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, 
believing, ye shall receive.

You should always pray for discipline.
One who has no self-control cannot receive grace.

I have estimated the influence of Reason upon Love
and found that it is like that of a raindrop upon the ocean,
which makes one little mark upon the water's face 
and disappears.

We must not grow weary 
of doing little things for God,
who looks not at the great size of the work, 
but at the love in it.
Adde of Beaufort

Passion is the smoke, 
and emotion is the glow of Love's fire;
selflessness is the flame that illuminates the Path.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

A belief is valueless if you don't test it and live by it.
Belief converted into experience becomes faith.

There are many signs from God 
in both the outer world and in the inner world.
But they are only accessible 
if you are living in the present moment. 
If you are thinking of the past, 
or of the future, you don't see them. 
Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee

The hungry man desires bread 
and the thirsty man desires water,
and if bread and water are placed before them,
it does not profit them to be aware 
that the bread and water is there,
and the proximity of bread and water 
are of no use to them,
unless they eat of the food and drink of the water. 
So also is it with you:
Your knowledge of good and its proximity to you 
does not benefit you, nor your desire for it, 
until it becomes a part of your very self
and you become one of those who follow after it.
Harith al-Muhasibi

Patience is Love's perfect outward expression.
Adde of Beaufort

As the rose blooms amidst thorns,
so great souls shine out through opposition.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. 
Think only on those things
that are in line with your principles 
and can bear the full light of day.
The content of your character is your choice. 
Day by day, what you choose, what you think, 
and what you do is who you become.
Your integrity is your destiny, 
it is the light that guides your way.

The spiritually deep man lives day and night 
in a calm interior silence,
into which neither menacing worries 
nor the crash of colliding worlds can intrude.

Knowledge means to know yourself, heart 
and soul. If you fail to understand yourself, 
then all of your reading has missed its call.
Yunus Emre

Belief in God is the fuel, love of God 
is the glow, and the realization of God 
is the flame of divine light.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The three paths of the Buddha: 
The long way of knowledge,
the shorter way of faith 
and the shortest way of action.
Gautama Buddha

In the foundation of all covenants, 
action is placed foremost.
This is the creative fire of the Spirit.
Nicholas Roerich

About Truth & Freedom

CHRISTIANITY: "Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men do to you,
do ye even so to them."
St. Matthew 7:12