Top 4 Music Books | Summer Reading

Looking for something to read while you're not practising your instrument or listening to your favourite tunes? Genevieve's latest blog in our Summer reading series has got you covered!


“Music is enough for a lifetime – but a lifetime is not enough for music”
Rachmaninoff

The summer holidays are upon us. Finally, you have some time to put into your hobbies. Summer can be a great time to get back into doing something you love, and learn in a relaxed and non-pressured way.


If you are interested in music, or in fact ever have been, why not try these four books to help musically inspire you for the upcoming summer months.


1) Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

The first of my picks is a contemporary novel by Ann Patchett, which was written in 2001, and won the PEN award the following year.


The novel’s action starts at a performance by the fictional opera singer Roxane Coss, in an unnamed South American country. The audience at this performance is made up of politicians, diplomats and business people. In fact, they are expecting the country’s president to arrive any second. However, chaos ensues when a group of terrorists descend, ready to take him captive.

Of course, the president hadn’t actually turned up, and so instead they decided to hold the audience, and Roxanne herself, hostage.


Not wanting to give any heavy spoilers from the rest of the book, I will tell you that the novel explores how music can provide an ability to communicate which runs deeper than language. It shows how music can foster love and community, and can allow individuals to reach a heightened level of awareness.


Reading this novel will surely renew your love for music, and help you to remember the deeper significance and importance of the arts. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book:

"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it…there have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see”

2) Words Without Music - Philip Glass


This next book is for all the biography lovers out there – this is the biography of Philip Glass. Philip Glass is an American composer, and was an early proponent of minimalism.

Check out some of his minimalist music here:


1) Mad Rush

2) Prophecies

3) Facades


If you haven’t heard minimalist music before, you might find it strange or confusing. It is a genre that perhaps takes a while to really understand, and learning about Glass’ life might be a good way to start understanding minimalism as a genre.


Glass had a particularly interesting life, being a child of the Beat generation, having influences of John Cage and Allen Ginsberg. He went to Kathmandu, became acquainted with Buddhism, and learnt about philosophy and musical styles from all around the world.


If you aren’t sure whether this memoir would be inspiring to you, why not check out some of his interviews on YouTube first?


3) Year of Wonder: Classical music for every day - Clemency Burton Hill


Now, if you’re anything like me, you constantly try to get listening to music into your daily routine. It can be tricky to fit it into a busy lifestyle, and you might end up just listening to some music in your earphones while walking, or in the car whilst driving.


The thing is about trying to fit music into your daily routine is often you can rush it, and not do the music you’re listening to justice. Now, this book offers a solution to this. It’s almost like a religious devotion book for music-lovers: every day has a different suggestion of a classical piece to listen to. It has a brief appraisal of the music, but is kept light and easy to read.


Reading this book could be a perfect way to get you to properly listen and get absorbed in classical music this summer. Imagine – this time next year you could have 365 classical pieces under your belt!


Of course, it does start in January, but this doesn’t really matter – they aren’t particularly date related. Start your summer off well by determining to listen to a new piece of music every day.


4) Inspiration for musicians - Emily Darcy

Finally, a wonderful book I recently received as a gift is simply called “Inspiration for musicians” by Emily Darcy. It is essentially a book of quotes, aimed to inspire you about music. All quotations are from famous characters, showing their opinion on music. Some are light-hearted, some sarcastic, and some powerfully poignant. From Plato to Billy Joel, there will be something in there that inspires you to get in touch with your musical side again: the perfect book for summer.


Blog Post Crafted by Genevieve

Genevieve is currently working towards her bachelors in English Literature at the University of Warwick.


Born in Coventry, she now tutors English SATs and GCSE in her free time, as well as working for the university as an outreach ambassador in local schools.


She also enjoys playing piano and flute, and often performs as a backing singer at local gigs.


Whenever she has a moment to spare, you might find her driving to the beach or catching up on her reading!

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