Music Quotes

Check out some of the interesting things famous musicians
and others have said about music for fun or inspiration.

If you find anything you think is worth posting send it my way!

Jazz Artists
“Anyone can make the simple complicated.  Creativity is making the complicated simple.”
Charles Mingus
“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.  If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.  They teach you there’s a boundary line to music.  But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.”
Charlie Parker
“I remember Glenn Miller coming to me once, before he had his own band, saying ‘How do you do it? How do you get started? It’s so difficult.’ I told him, ‘I don’t know but whatever you do don’t stop. Just keep on going. Because one way or the other, if you want to find reasons why you shouldn’t keep on, you’ll find ‘em. The obstacles are all there; there are a million of ‘em. But if you want to do something, you do it anyway, and handle the obstacles as they come….Even to this day, I don’t like people walking on stage not looking good. You have to look good. If you feel special about yourself then you’re going to play special…Look, what I mean is this: if an individual allows his personal standard to be eroded, something of what he does is going to be compromised. It’s a matter of detail, sometimes when you start losing detail, whether it’s in music or in life, something as small as not sending a thank-you note, of failing to be polite to someone, you start to lose substance”
Benny Goodman
“The trouble with most musicians today is that they are copycats.  Of course you have to start out playing like someone else.  You have a model, or a teacher, and you learn all that he can show you.  But then you start playing for yourself.  Show them that you’re an individual.  And I can count those who are doing that today on the fingers of one hand.”
Lester Young
“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.”
Dizzy Gilespie

“My biggest kick in music – playing or writing – is when I have a problem. Without a problem to solve, how much interest do you take in anything.”
“I like any and all of my associations with music – writing, playing, and listening. We write and play from our perspective, and the audience listens from its perspective. If and when we agree, I am lucky.”
“Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it.”
“By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.”
“Critics have their purposes, and they’re supposed to do what they do, but sometimes they get a little carried away with what they think someone should have done, rather than concerning themselves with what they did.”
“My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never.”
“Playing ‘bop’ is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing.”
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”
“There is hardly any money interest in art, and music will be there when money is gone.”
“You’ve got to find some way of saying it, without saying it.”
Duke Ellington
“There are only two types of music. Good and bad.”
“If you have any requests. keep them to yourselves. we don’t play requests!”
Buddy Rich
“The saxophone is actually a translation of the human voice, in my conception.  All you can do is play melody.  No matter how complicated it gets, it’s still a melody.”
“It’s like a language.  You learn the alphabet, which are the scales.  You learn sentences, which are the chords.  And then you talk extemporaneously with the horn.  It’s a wonderful thing to speak extemporaneously, which is something I’ve never gotten the hang of.  But musically I love to talk just off the top of my head.  And that’s what jazz music is all about.”
Stan Getz
“If you don’t get it, then there’s nothing to get.”
Louis Armstrong

Female Vocal Artists
“I sing like I feel.”
“It isn’t where you came from, its where you’re going that counts.”
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
“I guess what everyone wants more than anything else is to be loved. And to know that you loved me for my singing is too much for me. Forgive me if I don’t have all the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand.”
Ella Fitzgerald
Rock & Roll/Blues
“Don’t let the same dog bite you twice.”
“It’s amazing how much you can learn if your intentions are truly earnest.”
“They (black and white musicians) jived between each other.  All were artists, playing foolish, having fights and making love as if the rest of the world had no racial problems whatsoever”
Chuck Berry
“Music to me is just like breathing.  I have to have it.  It’s part of me.”
Ray Charles
“Poetry appeals to me so much because it’s so eternal.  As long as there are people, they can remember words and combinations of words.  Nothing else can sruvive a holocaust, but poetry and songs”
Jim Morrison
Pop Stars
I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
“As human beings, we need to know that we are not alone,… that there are people out there who feel as we do, who live as we do, who love, as we do, who are like us.  Music does this in such a complete and uncomplicated way.  There is great magic in this.”
Billy Joel

Classical Musicians
“It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”
J.S. Bach
20 Century Composers
“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.
“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.”
“The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”
“Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?”
“It was at Harvard not quite forty years ago that I went into an anechoic [totally silent] chamber not expecting in that silent room to hear two sounds: one high, my nervous system in operation, one low, my blood in circulation. The reason I did not expect to hear those two sounds was that they were set into vibration without any intention on my part. That experience gave my life direction, the exploration of nonintention. No one else was doing that. I would do it for us. I did not know immediately what I was doing, nor, after all these years, have I found out much. I compose music.”

John Cage
Television/Movie Industry
“Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes.”
Bill Cosby
“Playing music is supposed to be fun. It’s about heart, it’s about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it’s not about notes on a page. I can teach you notes on a page, I can’t teach you that other stuff.”
Mr. Holland’s Opus
“Music is an essential part of everything we do. Like puppetry, music has an abstract quality which speaks to a worldwide audience in a wonderful way that nourishes the soul.”
Jim Henson – television producer and puppeteer
“The value of an education… is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”
“I have no particular talent.  I am only inquisitive.”
Albert Einstein
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
Victor Hugo
“Duke Ellington did not want to sound like anyone else; he wanted to sound like himself.”
John Edward Murray, novelist
“A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn’t like the tune.”
“There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn’t give a damn what goes on in between.”
Sir Thomas Beecham
“Music is about communication, creativity, and cooperation, and by studying music in school, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives, and experience the world from a new perspective.”
Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States of America
Poetry Corner
Some people talk and talk
and never say a thing.
Some people look at you
and birds begin to sing.
Some people laugh and laugh
and yet you want to cry.
Some people touch your hand
and music fills the sky.
Charlotte Zolotow, poet