A few quotes about making music

Music-making shouldn’t belong just to people in the music business, or even just to musicians for that matter. It's too much fun!

Here are some quotes on that topic that I find inspiring:

“Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life? As much as talking, physical exercise and religion. Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to make our lives once more all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. And when one person taps out a beat while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.”
– Pete Seeger


“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.”
– Woody Guthrie


“When we say, ‘I think I’ll try acting. There’s a drama school in the community center,’ or ‘I’d like to learn Italian songs,’ they ask, ‘Oh, yeah? A play? What for?’ ... But art is not for anything. Art is the ultimate goal. It saves our souls and makes us live happily. It helps us express ourselves and be happy without the help of alcohol or drugs. So in response to such a pragmatic question, we need to be bold. ‘Well, just for the fun of it. Sorry for having fun without you,’ is what you should say. ‘I’ll just go ahead and do it anyway.'”
– Young-Ha Kim, from this TED Talk

And some wise words about making records vs. making music, from a very charming interview with the late master songwriter and gentle soul Jesse Winchester:

 

“Musicians went for centuries without there being such a thing as records. Music has done just fine. I’m not really sure that records qualify as music. Music, sort of by definition, is a living thing. It cannot be frozen. It moves through time, and real music, it never sounds the same twice. Making a record is more an art of construction or building, compilation, putting pieces together and seeing how they fit. It’s like music, it involves music, but it’s not really music. So I kinda keep the two things separate in my mind.”
– Jesse Winchester, from this radio interview

Scroll to Top