Why guitarists should read biographies

Musical heroes

We all have our musical heroes. Usually we discover them early on in our guitar playing experience. Heroes can be a wonderful guiding light that give us something to aim for, and drive us on to take our guitar playing to greater heights. Sometimes it’s our heroes that motivate us to take up guitar playing in the first place.

Musical heroes can also seem to be an alien breed though. This is particularly true when we view them through the lens of the media and listen to near perfect recordings and impeccable studio production. It can be tempting to think that they possess something magical that we normal humans just don’t.

Biographies of our heroes

Reading for guitaristsWhen you read a biography however, you see a different truth. Whether it’s Duke Ellington, Prince, Sting, Frank Zappa or The Beatles, we nearly always learn how hard most of these musicians worked at their careers.

It’s in biographies that we often learn of their sacrifices, the risks they were willing to take, the help that some of them received along the way. We read of how fortunate some of them were to meet the right people at just the right time and how they made the most of that good fortune.

It’s in biographies that we see how ‘business savvy’ many of these musicians were, and how this helped them achieve their success.

The reality of a musician’s life

It would be delusional to suggest that the musicians above aren’t talented – they clearly have talent by the truckload. But if you’re an aspiring guitarist it’s very good for you to get an insight into how things really were for the success stories.

You can see what things were like before they made it big. Read about their struggles and the problems they had to overcome. Learn about the many failures that they experienced. Reading biographies grounds us and helps us to see the reality of trying to earn a living as musicians. This is a good thing and it’s very different to what record companies and magazines would like us to believe.

So, go read some biographies!

So, if you haven’t read any biographies or autobiographies of musicians yet, why not get a few of performers you admire? You’ll almost certainly come way from them with some useful knowledge. And even if you don’t, well they’re almost always a good read regardless.




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photo credit: Enthuan via photopin cc
photo credit: dhammza via photopin cc

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