Book of the Month: May 2021

I don’t feel that I can properly convey my excitement about sharing these books with you each month. It may be because I am an avid reader at heart. It might also be because I love music. And when you put two of my loves together, I get downright giddy 😉

My excitement could also stem from a deep desire to continue learning – whatever that may look like – in each season of my life. And nothing would make me happier than to see my students and other teachers dive into the deep well of learning available to us. So without further ado…

For Students

I realize that your first reaction might sound something along the lines of “but wait, we’re piano teachers!” But just as I believe it’s important to teach our piano students about music history, I believe it’s also important to introduce them to other instruments. Why?

  • Your students themselves may have the opportunity to learn other instruments. This is not a threat to them playing piano, but rather a chance for them to become more well-rounded musicians!
  • Your students may have the opportunity to play along with or accompany other instruments in the future. Piano is one of the instruments most played solo… so it is important to encourage them to explore other instruments they may have a chance to collaborate with in the future!
  • Knowledge is power. And if you’re studying music history, I doubt that you are only discussing piano history!

My student pick for the month of May is one of the most recent books published detailing other instruments – specifically band instruments. The story begins with the band director, Mr. V, declaring that “there is a perfect instrument for everyone.” He the goes into detail telling about each instrument – its name, how it makes sound, and fun facts. But just as he’s about to demonstrate how each instrument sounds, we hear a boom Boom BOOM! Because he has a student in the back who is overeager to demonstrate the drums 🙂

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom is a a delightfully informative book that needs to be apart of your studio library. Whether you use it to teach students about the different instruments, include sound bites of each instrument for a more robust experience, or offer it to your students who are at the age of picking an instrument for band, you will be sure to find it very useful!

For Teachers

Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation just came out a month ago, and I made sure to snag this one up fast!

This book is for musicians and non musicians alike, and is the perfect companion book to March’s Book of the MonthZig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity. (many similarities, yet written for a different purpose!)

Panay and Hendrix are both on staff at Berklee College of Music, and do an excellent job showing how musical minds bring a unique perspective into other spaces such as the workplace, government, nonprofit organizations, etc.

After reading this, I had both a sense of how cool it is to be a musician (several times I sat back and marveled), and also what I have to offer in spaces outside of music making.

The book is set up with a prelude, coda, and 9 aspects of musical minds in between. Ranging from our unique ability to listen to connecting to reinventing, Panay and Hendrix take the reader through a journey that should lead to discovery and spark your imagination.

The book is not intended to be read quickly, and they encourage pausing for space and reflection at the end of each chapter. To further this, the authors provide an “interlude” page at the end of each chapter that includes listening examples that demonstrate the chapter’s goals.

Panay and Hendrix take the time to not only discuss how other musician’s have used their minds to advance their world, but also went through the work of talking to many of today’s artists directly.

I of course read this as a musician. And I was thrilled and also challenged the entire way through. But as I said, this book is also valuable to those outside of music. We can all learn from each other, and would likely benefit most from reading this when coming from different backgrounds. But don’t stop there! Discussing (collaborating) and challenging each other from our different perspectives is where the rubber meets the road.

I would love to know your thoughts on Two Beats Ahead 🙂 Where has your musical mind taken you to places in life that you never would have expected?

Happy Reading!

Looking for more studio and personal book recommendations? Check out what I’ve been reading by clicking on the pictures below 🙂

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