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The Zen of Music
A compilation by Philip Toshio Sudo


The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.

- Duke Ellington

I think musicians, as they grow older, usually become interested in doing something more lasting . . . You've just got to settle down and make everything count and make sure that it's worthy of being heard again, not just a throwaway.

- Eric Clapton

The music has generated all the techniques I use. When I sit down to learn to play something . . . it is not because I want to master a technique. It is because I want to hear what an idea sounds like

- Pat Martino

I don't think you can ever do your best. Doing your best is a process of trying to do your best.

- Townes Van Zandt

If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards.

- Joe Pass

Not everyone is going to like what I do, and that's something I can accept. If everyone liked what I did, I probably wouldn't be playing anything of depth.

- Joshua Redman

I like to play with people who can play simple and are not threatened by other musicians thinking they can't play. And that eliminates 99 percent of the musicians.

- Neil Young

If I can get out of the way, if I can be pure enough, and if I can be generous and loving and caring enough to abandon what I have and my own preconceived, silly notions of what I think I am - and become truly who in fact I am, which is really just another child of God - then the music can really use me. And therein lies my fulfillment. That's when the music starts to happen.

- John McLaughlin

Some people have a great sense of moral responsibility; unfortunately it's backed up with a poor sense of musical taste. Other people have great musical ability, and very little sense of moral responsibility. It's very difficult to have a good balance.

- Eric Clapton

How you play a note is just as important as what the note is.

- Henry Kaiser

I don't care who likes it or buys it. Because if you use that criterion, Mozart would never have written Don Giovanni, Charlie Parker would never have played anything but swing music. There comes a point at which you have to stand up and say, this is what I have to do.

- Brandford Marsalis

Whether you're playing in a bar, a strip joint, or the Himalayas, the first duty of music is to compliment and enhance life.

- Carlos Santana

Music should go right through you, leave some of itself inside you, and take some of you with it when it leaves.

- Henry Threadgill

You get older . . . you start having hopes for other people rather than yourself.

- Bob Dylan
 


These quotes are taken from the wonderful book:

The Zen Guitar

by Philip Toshio Sudo

Fireside/Simon and Schuster, New York 1998

ISBN # 0-684-83090-6 pbk.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in any sort of music-making, vocal or instrumental; it is not only for guitarists! Philip Toshio Sudo has written a beautiful and delightful book, filled with an abundance of guidance and inspiration. ~ David


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