I’ve been spending the past few weeks working hard to finish my book on piano improvisation, which I hope to release on either July 1st or 15th.
Last December, when I began going through my 10 years of blog posts and newsletters, I imagined that it would take about 2 months to organize them into book form. Wow – I was completely wrong about that! It’s taking much longer than expected, but the result is well worth it in every respect.
I began by pasting about 200 of my posts into a long document. I chose the ones that were the most inspirational or instructional regarding the process of learning how to improvise in an effective and emotionally healthy way. After that, I organized them into 20 individual chapters, and sequenced these chapters in a way that will take pianists on a “journey of understanding.”
This is when the real work began. My next step was to edit and re-write all the posts to give a nice flow, and I added relevant material as I went along. I’m now in the final stages of slowly going through the entire book yet again, this time with finely-tuned eyes and ears to make each sentence “land” in the best way possible. After I finish that, the final step will be to record 30 audios that will be linked to throughout the book.
I’m becoming increasingly excited as the book nears completion, and I’ll keep you posted as to when it’s available. (I’m planning on making it available on Amazon as a Kindle edition and Print On Demand, if you’d like a hard copy.)
The interesting aspect of this for us pianists is that each time someone else helped me with the book, whether it involved proofreading, editing, or simply reading a chapter and sharing their views, the book has improved. Writing can be a solitary activity, yet when we share our work with trusted friends, we enjoy the benefits of friendship and community support.
Piano playing is the same way. Although it can be tempting to remain shy and private regarding our musical journey, we benefit each time we play for our families, jam with our friends, and share our music with others in an emotionally safe space.
The writer Seth Godin recently wrote about this while discussing the movie Get Back, which documents The Beatles’ rehearsal process.
As Godin points out, Paul McCartney, as great as he is, often brought half-composed songs to the group’s rehearsals. McCartney welcomed the suggestions given by his bandmates, and the music benefitted as well. Here’s Seth’s blog post:
As McCartney knew, and I’ve discovered with my upcoming book, we benefit by inviting trusted friends into our artistic process, provided they are positive spirits who have our best interests at heart. Don’t hide at the piano. Relax, “let go,” and share your music with those around you. You’ll be glad you did!
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