Advice to Young Musicians: Book Review & Free eBook

Advice to Young Musicians  |  Review & Free eBook  on  The Music Blog


Title:            Advice to Young Musicians
Author:        Robert Schumann
Pages:         48
Reading Level: Young Adult – Adult
Audience:   Students, Teachers, Families
Stars:           ★★★


Robert Schumann’s collection of piano compositions, Album for the Young, is well-loved, and thousands of young musicians have played his charming pieces.  But not very many know that he wrote a tiny book of words, too, called Advice to Young Musicians.

Advice to Young Musicians is a classic wit-and-wisdom-style book.  It’s not written in chapters, or even paragraphs, but in sixty-eight short music “proverbs” containing what Robert Schumann considered to be the most important advice he could give to a young musician.

Like most wit-and-wisdom books, some of the proverbs are better than others, and not every proverb is profound.  But the book is enjoyable, and much of the advice is profitable for musicians on a variety of levels.

Here is a sample of the content ~


52.  Do not judge of a composition on a first hearing; what pleases you in the first moment is not always the best.

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31.  If all would play first violin, we could get no orchestra together.  Respect each musician, therefore, in his place.

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11.  You must not only be able to play your little pieces with the fingers; you must be able to hum them over without a piano.  Sharpen your imagination so that you may fix in your mind not only the melody of a composition, but also the harmony belonging to it.

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22.  You should neither play poor compositions, nor even listen to them, if you are not obliged to.

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39.  The study of the history of music, supported by the actual hearing of the master compositions of the different epochs, is the shortest way to cure you of self-esteem and vanity.


It’s a short little book – one you can read cover-to-cover in about 15 minutes.

To get the most out of it, though, reading it all at once isn’t the best plan.  Instead, pick one good quote at a time and make it your musical motto for the day – or the week! This way you’ll be able to focus on internalizing and applying the very best pieces of advice, instead of just reading straight through all of them at once.

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NOTE:  Advice to Young Musicians is a book for “young musicians”, not “young children”.  It is written in older English, so some of the language can be a bit challenging for our modern phrasing and vocabulary.  This isn’t a criticism of the book, just a clarification.

If you would like your young child to benefit from the book, try reading it aloud to them in small portions, offering explanations and application along the way.[/box]

It’s always fun to add a book by one of the great composers to your music library.  You can get your own copy of Advice to Young Musicians from Amazon HERE, or if you like, you can READ THE BOOK FOR FREE here!

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