We musicians need to educate ourselves in all the sides involved in the making and the business of music. Our art is complex and there's much to be learned from various sources available to us. It's true that Google, Youtube and Music blogs can provide us with quickly easy information. However, my go-to major source are still the great books containing reliable information based in extensive proper research. And who doesn't love the smell of a new book?
There are thousands of Music books available on the market today. For every genre, taste, specialty and tone of voice. I personally have listened to audiobooks and read dozens of hand-picked physical books that have served me very well and continue to. Most of those choices were obviously based on my needs at the moment as an artist. Others I consider to be crucially necessary for any kind of musical artist in this century. I've selected 3 essential books below that I extremely recommend and have stretched my knowledge to a higher degree.
#1 The Poetry of Pop by Adam Bradley
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Studying poetry is the primary basis to start good lyrics. The analysis Adam Bradley made on "Diamonds" written by Sia completely enchanted me to think that words matter. Everything about them matters; what they mean, how they sound, how they work in context with one-another and how we can manipulate them to say what we want to say and make listeners feel and think a certain way.
Whether you're a Pop composer or not I believe this book is a very interesting read. Like it or not, Pop is a very... "popular ", and that genre of music says a lot about who we are as a society. More precisely the rhythmic and expressions are the way we talk, walk, feel, live! I've always loved Pop music and when I actually took the action of learning how it works I've gained an immense respect for those who compose the famous catchy lyrics we have stuck in our heads (whether we like it or not).
#2 How Music Works by David Byrne
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In order to craft music, one needs to understand how it works. David Byrne is an historian and anthropologist, raconteur, social scientist and a hell of an author. This book is easy to understand and its really on how our brains and society works and how it transcend into beautiful music. It will take you on a journey better than any Netflix series you've been watching. It will transport you though the ancient African tribes and their early musical makings. For Byrne music is a beautiful result of a cultural circumstance.
#3 - All You Need To Know About The Music Business
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The author Donald S. Passman successfully condensed an extreme amount of valuable information in ONE book. This one was recommended to me by a friend who's Entertainment Lawyer and worked at Sony Music for over 10 years. I can say that inside this "Music Bible" there's extremely valuable information every musician should know. I'd suggest to always keep this book at home for a quick research as needed. It will make you aware of many legal and bureaucratic sides of the Music Business so you know how to avoid somebody take advantage of you and your art. It doesn't have ALL that you need to know but it's pretty close.
Hopefully you will grab one of those soon and start your journey through the pages. I'd love to know which other music books do you love/recommend?