Get Booked: Musicians and Culture

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We kick off our series on good reads with books that examine what makes musicians from different cultures tick.

—by Heather Cornelius

What does it take to become a better musician? Musicianship is complex and multi-faceted. The best musicians play with passion, inspiration, and a sense of discovery. Where does this come from? Practicing, performing, and taking lessons are essential, but these are not the only ways to enhance musicianship.

For me, one of the most powerful ways to find new perspectives and add variety to my musical thinking is reading good books. Reading isn’t just a way to pass the time—it engages a different part of the mind and opens new possibilities for experiencing music. Some books, like memoirs, are inspiring; others are resources for learning and refining skills. Still other books give context to the work in the practice room by painting history, culture, and the broader musical world.

In the upcoming issues of Harp Column, I’ll share some recommended reads that have inspired me, and I hope will inspire you too. Recently, I’ve enjoyed some books about musicians and culture that have introduced me to other instruments and parts of the world.

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