Recommended Reading That Will Help Your Playing

Effortless Mastery – Kenny Werner

This book is pretty widely known in the music community.  It’s about… well, check out the book.  This book tackles the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of creativity.  Kenny uses accounts from his own development as an artist to explain how to think and create effortlessly.

There is also a DVD version of a Kenny Werner master class where he deals with a lot of the same ideas as in the book.  I’ve got both and it’s definitely recommended to check out. Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within

Excerpt from "Living Effortless Mastery"

Zen in the Art of Archery – Eugen Herrigel

Currently on my “To Read” list.  This book deals with the idea of developing motor skills and control and turning this process into something as natural as breathing.

I should say however, there is some contention with Zen Buddhists and kyudo practitioners.  This book is very old in terms of the building of an infrastructure over the cultural gap.  There are some things in this book that don't really hold water with purists.  There is an essay entitled The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery by Yamada Shoji that explains some of the holes in what the book deals with.

Having said all of that, even with it's short comings this is supposedly a great starting point for westerners trying to understand the art of Zen.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I first heard about this on a DVD highlighting Terence Blanchard’s CD release of the same truncated title: Flow.  This book deals with the idea of complete immersion in an activity; how one can 'lose themselves' in music.

The Science of Breath – Yogi Ramacharaka

Recommended by Bobby Shew via Maynard Ferguson for improvement in the Trumpet’s extreme register and overall tone development.  This book is complete with all the information you’ll ever need to know about how inhaling and exhaling air works, along with tips on how to improve these processes.  However, being a yoga book, it also keeps the spiritual in mind.

View the complete book for FREE here

View a breakdown of techniques here