I usually share an inspiring video in this space. Today, I share something a bit different. The following is a list of Thelonious Monk’s 25 tips for musicians. When I read the list by this great jazz pianist and composer, I discovered many of the tips can be applied to nearly everything I do. In many ways, the tips seem like simple common sense; it is in their simplicity where the kernels of wisdom are found. Enjoy and apply.
Thelonious Monk’s 25 Tips for Musicians
Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep time.
Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head when you play.
Stop playing all that bullshit, those weird notes, play the melody!
Make the drummer sound good.
Discrimination is important.
You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?
It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.
Let’s lift the band stand!!
I want to avoid the hecklers.
Don’t play the piano part, I am playing that. Don’t listen to me, I am supposed to be accompanying you!
The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.
Don’t play everything (or everytime); let some things go by. Some music just imagined.
What you don’t play can be more important than what you do play.
A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.
Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig & when it comes, he’s out of shape & can’t make it.
When you are swinging, swing some more!
(What should we wear tonight?) Sharp as possible!
Always leave them wanting more.
Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene.
Those pieces were written so as to have something to play & to get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal!
You’ve got it! If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, you got it! (to a drummer who didn’t want to solo).
Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along & do it. A genius is the one most like himself.
They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along & spoil it.