book reviews

  • Perfecting Sound Forever by Greg Milner Review

    Title: Perfecting Sound Forever
    Author: Greg Milner
    Genre: Music History
    Page Count: 416 Pages


    If I’m honest, Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music is not a book that I bought for myself. It was one that I discovered on U-Nam’s shelf – his interests in recording and sound are far greater than my own – but once I picked it up, I read it from cover to cover.

    The book is very academic in style, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to experience feelings of nostalgia, reflecting on my time spent at university studying musicology. That said, it’s not a quick read. Milner’s book is certainly something that takes time to digest and has quite a few things to reflect on as a reader. Personally, I see that as a positive asset, but if you’re looking for something light and easy to get through, this book might not be for you.

    Perfecting Sound Forever is a history of recorded music. It covers the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison all the way up to the popularization of digital samplers and recording tools such as ProTools. The book takes us around the world, from German radio transmissions during the war to the invention of the compact disc in Japan, detailing how these innovations have changed recorded music.


    His theories on the techniques that have resulted in contemporary recorded musics are interesting and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning the history of recorded music.

    A small disclaimer: There are purportedly mistakes regarding recording techniques in the book (according to reviews found on Amazon). I, myself, did not notice, but I do not have enough experience with different recording techniques to have recognized them. My experience in the studio has primarily been in front of a microphone and not behind the console.

    Get Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music on Amazon.

    May 18, 2015 • Reviews, Teen Jazz • Views: 1916

  • Making a Living in Your Local Music Market Book Review

    Title: Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition)
    Author: Dick Weissman
    Genre: Music Business Advice
    Pages: 272 pages


    Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition) is a music business and career advice book written by Dick Weissman. It is geared towards up and coming musicians looking to make a career in their local music market in lieu of (or in preparation for) the mainstream music market.

    Weissman details several major regional music scenes for music in his book, sharing how musicians can make a living in their own backyards.

    Some of the topics in Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition) include: why you need a contract, whether or not you should hire a personal manager, why copyright your music, dealing with contractors and unions, producing your own music, how to secure grants, and creative ways to find local gig opportunities.


    I bought this book several years ago while I was still in school. As a poor college student, I was only able to afford a used copy that I bought online and so the version that I purchased was a little outdated. There have, of course, been updated versions released since the edition of the book that I read but in all honesty, the advice offered in this book is almost identical to that which you’ll read in any music advice article published ten minutes ago (minus information detailing online sources of income). It’s amazing how little the core advice offered to musicians has changed over the past few decades.

    The book is a little different than several other books that I read in that it suggests ways to make a living as a local musician (rather than as a musician who tours or gets signed by a label). Either way, as someone who has a few years as a professional musician under their belt, there wasn’t a whole lot that I haven’t already learned from other authors or from personal experience. At the same time, however, Weissman did present a few ideas that I had not thought of and tips for creative ways to approach things that I’m already doing. For that alone, the book was worth reading.

    Even if your goal is to do more than work as a local musician, this book still offers a lot of great advice for when you’re just starting out and need to make ends meet until your career really takes off. Whatever your long-term goal may be, this is an interesting read that can help you come up with ways to make a living as a musician.

    4 Stars. Recommended for those starting out.

    Get Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition) on Amazon

    April 22, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 2179

  • The Self-Promoting Musician by Peter Spellman Review

    Author: Peter Spellman
    Genre: Music Business
    Page Count: 284 Pages


    The Self-Promoting Musician is a Berklee Music Guide now in its third edition (2013). In the book, Peter Spellman offers readers advice on how to approach one’s music career with a do-it-yourself attitude. Geared towards self-managed musicians, the book includes sections on social media strategy, getting the most out of your gigs, pursue radio airplay, and keeping your career organized.


    The sections that I found interesting in this book were:
    • Spellman’s discussion of the segmentation of the music market and how the music industry is shifting away from big successes to modest successes in more segmented genres.
    • How finding one’s niche just doesn’t mean “jazz saxophonist” it means that the specific style of jazz you play needs to be tacked onto your identity.
    • The importance of improving skills beyond those that you have on your instrument (overcoming shyness, telephone skills, etc.).
    Overall I found The Self-Promoting Musician to be an informative resource and I would recommend it. Like most music business books available on the market, there is a lot of information included that can be somewhat repetitive. But things like the detailed business plan included in this book can be extremely helpful.

    March 23, 2015 • Teen Jazz • Views: 2016

  • 30 Days to a Better Music Brand Available Now!

    Are you ready to give your music brand an extra boost? This 172-page workbook is a great way to get started. With 30 challenges to help you work towards a better brand, a collection of helpful resources, and a case study, you can give your brand the attention it deserves.

    Improve your music brand with 30 daily challenges. We’ll walk you through it, step-by-step, and make the process simple.

    When it comes to our music, we want to put our best foot forward, but there’s a lot involved in presenting a clear, consistent brand image. Whether it’s the images we use, the tone in our writing, or the music itself, we have quite a bit to think about.

    That’s why we’ve created “30 Days to a Better Music Brand.”

    We want to help you utilize the tools available to your to create the ultimate brand for yourself as an artist.

    The book is available for only $2.99!

    30-days-better-musician-brandIncluded in “30 Days to a Better Music Brand”:

    – The PDF + Kindle Versions of our 172+ pg. Guide
    – A Sample Chapter of “The Album Checklist”
    – 30 Actionable Tips to Help You Improve Your Brand
    – Tons of advice on branding
    – Free updates – the next time we update the book, we’ll send you the new version free!

    Get your copy of “30 Days to a Better Music Brand”

    (Automatic Download)

    “Shannon has done an excellent job in bringing new artists current in how to better brand their goals and music. She has explained in an upbeat and very informative way in how to improve an artist’s brand in 30 days. It’s an amazing and “must” read. Kudos to Shannon’s gift of sharing. . . This book will bring direction to many new artists.” – J.D. Davis

    ” Excellent book. Many good tips for developing one’s skills, performances, products, and overall promotional ability. Anyone who incorporates even just a few of the 30 tips in this book can’t help but improve his/her operation as a self-styled musician. Many of the pointers in this book are not restricted to the music industry and have general applicability for other creative artists (e.g., photographer, author), or simply anyone in business for him/herself and who wants to improve the connection with his/her audience/consumer base.” – Fred Cavese

    Read more reviews on GoodReads

    30 Days to a Better Music Brand is also available on the Amazon Bookstore

    March 12, 2015 • Articles, Resources • Views: 2732

  • 30 Days to a Better Music Brand Community Page

    Hey there!

    Thank you for supporting Teen Jazz and your own brand as an artist with your purchase of “30 Days to a Better Music Brand”. Don’t have it yet? That’s okay, you can get it here for just $2.99.

    Welcome to our community page where we can share our journey to better music branding, offer one another feedback, and ask questions.

    So let’s get to know one another!

    Share your #TJmusicbranding journey below in the comments.

    PS > If you haven’t already left one, we would really appreciate your honest reviews on Goodreads! You can share your thoughts on the book here.

    Read reviews on GoodReads

    30 Days to a Better Music Brand is also available on the Amazon Bookstore


    March 11, 2015 • Teen Jazz • Views: 1727

  • Succeeding in Music by John Stiernberg | Book Review

    Title: Succeeding in Music
    Author: John Stiernberg
    Genre: Music Businees Book and Workbook with CD-Rom
    Page Count: 198 pages

    About the Book:

    Published by Backbeat Books in 2002, John Stiernberg’s “Succeeding in Music” is a user-friendly guide to the music business, finance, and marketing. “Succeeding in Music” teaches the reader how to create and implement their own business plan with a basic and easily understandable roadmap. It includes a CD-ROM with checklists, resources, and other templates to help you plan and manage your music career.

    Our Thoughts:

    This book is highly recommended for those who need an introduction to music business and marketing, this is the perfect book. However, if you have read extensively on or have a background in music business, this book is not for you.

    “Succeeding in Music” is in a way, a “Music Business 101” class in an easily digestible, book form. It covers many of the business and marketing essentials necessary to starting and maintaining a successful career. Much of the advice offered can be found online for free on various music blogs if you’re willing to spend the time to look for it, but this book presents the information in one convenient text.

    It’s definitely a great first book if you don’t have any experience with marketing or running your own business, but if you do have any background knowledge (or if you have done a bit of independent research), you might find the content of this book to be nothing but a review.

    The author, John Stiernberg, works for a business consulting company he established in 1993. He frequently speaks at seminars, works as a professional musician, and has experience working as a booking agent.

    Get Succeeding in Music – A Business Workbook for Performers, Songwriters and Agents Book/CD-ROM on Amazon

    October 22, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1905

  • Review of The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green

    Author: Barry Green
    Publisher: Double Day
    Publication Date: February 21, 1985
    Price: $9.99 (Kindle) $19.65 (Hardcover)
    Edition Read for Review: Hardcover, 225 Pages

    I have pretty mixed feelings about “The Inner Game of Music.” I wanted to like it, especially since it’s been such an influential book for a number of performers, but I just couldn’t. That’s not to say that there are some really great things in this book, because there are. And even though I did not particularly enjoy the book, I actually even have a few take-away items that I’d like to try.

    I’ll start out by saying what I didn’t like about the book to get it out of the way. To be honest, it was just difficult to get through. It didn’t keep my attention so I found myself skipping through sections and I was easily distracted by other tasks whenever I sat down to try to read the book. I had to keep to short bursts of reading (one chapter at a time at most) just because I couldn’t keep focused on reading the book for any length of time (which is unusual for me).

    Of course, I don’t want to deter you if this is something you’re interested in reading. It just didn’t appeal to me personally. And even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, I did get some valuable tips from it.

    To end on a positive note…

    One of the things that I liked in the book was the chapter written for parents and coaches. There are a few great tips in that chapter about how to encourage kids to practice music and find enjoyment in the craft. I think that this chapter is definitely worth reading if you have kids that struggle with practice whether you’re a parent or a teacher. It gives advice on how to create an effective practice environment with the right tools, no interruptions and the opportunity for kids to have music play time as well as practice time.

    Another interesting point that was brought up in the book surrounded the struggle adult beginners go through when they decide to pursue something like music. Adult beginners tend to set unfairly high standards “and this causes them to be unaware of the very really progress they make.” (p. 165) Comparisons to professionals rather than those at their level blocks their self-awareness and they don’t see their advances because they don’t measure their week-to-week progress.

    Overall, I can see why “The Inner Game of Music” has been such an important book for many musicians. It offers an interesting perspective and several exercises that have helped a number of performers improve their musicianship. That being said, it just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve read other reviews online that state the tennis version of the book is much better, even for musicians. If you’ve read either (or both), I’d love to know your thoughts.

    Get The Inner Game of Music on Amazon

    June 4, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 2247

  • Top 10 Musician Biography Books

    There are a ton of great books out that detail the lives of some of the most influential jazz musicians and one of our goals is to help you choose some of the best reading material available to you.

    So, we decided to take a look at Amazon to see what 10 of the most popular music biographies and autobiographies were so far this summer and we have added them to our reading list so we can review them for you.

    That way, we can help weed out some of the more irrelevant material for you and save you some time so that you choose to read the best of what’s out there. (Note: When we created this list, we only selected the top book for each performer, so we skipped any duplicate bios on the Amazon list. If you recommend we read a different version of any musician’s bio on this list, please feel free to let us know in the comments.)

    Here’s the list of books we plan on reading. We’ll add our reviews to the site soon, but in the meantime, if you’ve read any of these books, what did you think?

    Please note, that for the time being, clicking any of the links below will take you to Amazon until our reviews are written.

    1. Music Is My Mistress
    by Edward Kennedy Ellington(Review Coming Soon)
    2. Miles: The Autobiographyby Miles Davis

    (Review Coming Soon)

    3.Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
    by Robin DG Kelley(Review Coming Soon)
    4. Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend
    by Michael Dregni(Review coming soon.)
    5. Pops: Paul Whiteman, King of Jazz by Thomas A. Delong(Review Coming Soon)
    6. Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings
    by Mr Peter Pettinger
    (Review Coming Soon)
    7. Jaco: The Extraordinary Tragic Life of Jaco Pastoriusby Bill Millkowski
    (Review Coming Soon)
    8. King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Eraby Edward A Berlin
    (Review Coming Soon)
    9. Chet Baker: His Life and Musicby Jeroen De Valk
    (Review Coming Soon)
    10. John Coltrane: His Life and Music
    by Lewis Porter(Review coming soon)

    May 21, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 2157

  • Review of Pocket Music Theory from Hal Leonard

    Author: Keith Wyatt and Carl Schroeder
    Publisher: Hal Leonard
    Publication Date: September 1, 2002
    Price: $6.15 on Kindle and $7.19 Paperback
    Edition: Paperback, 176 Pages

    I bought my first copy of the Hal Leonard Pocket Music Theory: A Comprehensive and Convenient Source for All Musicians when I was in high school. I had signed up for my first music theory course and we were required to purchase a music dictionary of sorts. While searching for one, I came across both this book, the Hal Leonard Pocket Music Theory, and its counterpart, the Hal Leonard Pocket Music Dictionary.

    The Pocket Music Theory, book is small (hence “pocket”) so it is not as in-depth as some other music theory books may be, but it is a very thorough resource, particularly for its size.

    Pocket Music Theory contains many of the more basic and fundamental aspects of music theory while delving into some more specific subjects such as jazz theory.

    This is a great resource to use as a reminder or refresher for the basics of music theory. It includes chords, scales, triads, inversions, key centers, transposition, rhythms, modulation, etc. and can help fill out your knowledge of music in a concise and clear manner. I carried this book around in my backpack throughout school to use as a reference for homework assignments, my own compositions and as a resource on its own.

    If you’re looking for an introduction to or refresher on music theory, this is a really handy book to consider. The book is available in paperback version and it is 176 pages. You can also get it on Kindle. The reviewed edition was published in 2002.

    Get the Hal Leonard Pocket Music Theory: A Comprehensive and Convenient Source for All Musicians on Amazon.

    May 12, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 2303

  • 10 Popular Music Business Book

    One of the most important things you can do for yourself both personally and for your career is to constantly look for new ways to grow, learn, and improve. And we’re not just talking about practice.

    There are two sides of music: the art and the business. And in addition to providing great information on the business side of music, reading is a great way to learn about your craft, your industry and the history of your art and the musicians who helped establish it.

    One of our goals is to provide you with a current and relevant list of resources to help you establish, maintain and succeed in music. So, we decided to take a look at Amazon to see what 10 of the most popular music business/music books were so far this summer and decided to add them to our reading list so we can review them for you.

    That way, we can help weed out some of the more irrelevant material for you and save you some time so that you choose to read the best of what’s out there.

    Here’s the list of books we plan on reading. We’ll add our reviews to the site soon, but in the meantime, if you’ve read any of these books, what did you think?

    Please note, that for the time being, clicking any of the links below will take you to Amazon until our reviews are written.

    8. Artist Management for the Music Business
    by Paul Allen
    (Review Coming Soon)
    1. All You Need to Know About the Music Business: Ninth Edition by Donald S Passman
    We’ve read previous editions of this book, so it will be interesting to see how the latest version has evolved to include current music trends. (Review Coming Soon)

    2. This Business of Music: The Definitive Guide to the Business and Legal Issues of the Music Industry
    by M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel, John M Gross, and Jonathan Feinstein(Review Coming Soon)

    3. HOW TO MAKE IT IN THE NEW MUSIC BUSINESS — Now With The Tips You’ve Been Asking For!
    by Robert Wolff
    (Review Coming Soon)

    4. Hal Leonard Pocket Music Theory: A Comprehensive and Convenient Source for All Musicians by Carl Schroeder & Keith WyattOur thoughts: this is a practical guide to music theory that can serve as a fantastic reference whether it’s for your music theory classes at school or as a refresher once you’ve finished at school. Read our review.

    5. Music Research: A Handbook by Laurie J Sampsel(Review Coming Soon)

    6. Six-Figure Musician – How to Sell More Music, Get More People to Your Shows, and Make More Money in the Music Business (Music Marketing [dot] com Presents)
    by David Hooper
    (Review Coming Soon)

    7. What They’ll Never Tell You About the Music Business: The Myths, the Secrets, the Lies (& a Few Truths)
    by Peter M Thall(Review Coming Soon)

    9. Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail
    by Mike King
    (Review Coming Soon)

    10. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J Levitin Recommended.We thought this was an interesting book. You can read our review of it here.

    May 12, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 2867