Read This: The Musician's Lifeline

Kerry Dexter's picture

If you love books you can dip in and out of for nuggets of information, inspiration, and conversation, The Musician's Lifeline could be your book.

Read This: The Musician's Lifeline

Authors Peter Erskine and Dave Black both have long resumes of studio and live work, teaching, and awards, They are also both percussionists (they have also written The Drummer's Lifeline). They wanted to extend their musical advice and knowledge beyond drummers, though, so they sent seven questions to quite a number of their musical friends. About 150 those folks responded. Erskine and Black got to work writing their own contributions and organizing the advice into eleven chapters.

It is, as you might expect, quite a varied collection, with advice on networking, practicing, auditions for both pro and school positions, performance anxiety, music business, how to improve your playing, and other things.

The authors' contributions do tend to skew toward the way percussionists approach music, which makes sense as that is their frame of reference. Those musician friends who contribute come from all across the instrumental and genre range, though, so have different ways of thinking. Unsurprisingly, these musicians sometimes give conflicting advice. You may find, as I did, that there are things you agree with and those you really do not, as well as material you had not thought about.

The advice ranges from practical to inspirational. A classical musician says in part, "Close up work on learning every note is necessary work but the language of the music can be discerned only by stepping away." A guitarist points out, speaking of auditioning, that, "Sometimes you just have to play nervous!" A trumpeter, who is also a university professor, offers, "Follow and live your excitement and passions."

The Musician's Lifeline was written before 2020's changes in music's landscape. If you've been learning, practicing, or thinking about music during this time, though, this could be a source of information and conversation.

The Musician's Lifeline
by Peter Erskine and Dave Black
191 pages $16.95
Alfred Music


Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.