Effortless Mastery

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Effortless Mastery

The final step when practicing!

There are many great books about being a musician and practising out there, in the past I have recommended Tonal and Rhythmical Principles by John Mehegan and The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten.

By recommendation from a Spy Tunes student, I’ve just finished another one. This book is for those of you who know your scales and feel ready for the final step, to allow music to flow effortlessly through you!

In Kenny Werner’s outstanding book ‘Effortless Mastery‘, we learn how to truly master an instrument. Below are a few quotes.

Effortless Mastery Quotes

“Many musicians are so fixated on complex elements that they fail to spend enough time on the basics. As a result, they tend to have all sorts of glitches basic gaps in their playing.
For example, if basic chord progressions are not fully digested, you will struggle with most standard tunes. Eighty percent of all jazz standards are comprised of the II-V-I progression, a succession of chords. If you really master that progression in all keys, you’ll find that you can fly through most tunes instantly.

But before mastering this fundamental progression, your restless mind may have already driven you to study more exotic ones. By not having properly learned II – V – I, you are probably doomed to fail in the playing of more modern progressions as well as in the basic ones.”

“As musicians/healers, it is our destiny to conduct an inward search and to document it with our music so that others may benefit. As they listen to the music coming through us, they too are inspired to look within. Light is being transmitted and received from soul to soul.”

“I realised that the goal is letting go of my ego and being kind to myself, playing only what
wants to come out effortlessly.”

“The original musician was not looking for his image; he was using his voice to learn about the world.”

“The shaman’s state is trance, a state that eludes most of us in the modern world, but which may still be witnessed in an inspired jazz soloist or classical performer.”

“The sad fact is that most musicians judge their value as a person by their level of playing. Therein lies an unhealthy linkage between musical proficiency and self-worth. It raises the stakes for what it means to play badly or well. This puts undue pressure on the act of playing.”

“You think about your life all day long, your mind filled with issues. Should I move to New York? Should I stay in school? Should I become a teacher, or should I try and make it? If I got out of school, I could shed (practise) more, maybe get better. If you’re a teacher, perhaps you feel the need to take a sabbatical so you can practise and become the player your students think that you are!”

“We lose sight of reality very easily because of the little dictator in our heads: the mind. Our mind is always feeding us messages: ”I must sound good;” ”This is the right music, that is the wrong music;” ”This is valid jazz, that is politically correct jazz” (yes, we have that these days). Or it sends us messages like: ”I’m not supposed to play really great, because I’m a woman,” or ”I’m white,” or ”I’m European,” or ”only guys who live in New York can really play,” or ”I’m too old, and I can’t learn to play any better.” The mind is always supplying a steady stream of these illusions of limitation. They don’t happen to be true, but they prevent you from seeing or hearing truth.”

“Trapped in thought, you cannot groove.”

Amen to that!

If you enjoyed these quotes, invest in Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Musician Within by Kenny Werner on Amazon.

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