The Perpetual Beginner
The Perpetual Beginner is a very different and fascinating type of music “manual,” which is also partially a memoir of the musical life of David Isaacs, a well-respected professional guitarist and teacher. The premise is that anyone who has the desire to play better than they are already can do so, whether they are a hobbyist or a professional, beginner or experienced player. It is aimed especially at those who feel that they have become stuck or have reached the limit of their ability. Using anecdotes from his own training and the things he has learned on his own, Isaacs gives specific advice on everything from how to practice to how to think about music and the way to learn improvisation. He draws on philosophy and psychology as well as music theory and practice. There are lists and bullet points along with quotes and anecdotes from his experience in a variety of music forms from classical music to folk to oldies to jazz and rock. Isaacs even covers the importance of how you breathe and how you sit. He stresses, too, the importance of listening.
The book is full of step-by-step instructions that encourage new ways of looking at practice and performance, meant not only to enhance performance but to increase enjoyment. The concept of “the perpetual beginner” has to do do with keeping the excitement and openness to experimentation and possibility. This is an entertaining and innovative book that will help you achieve that. Isaacs says that anyone can learn to be better and more in tune with their instrument by following these steps. I believe him. Certainly, it would be interesting to try and that increased interest alone is worth reading the book.