cover image The Perpetual Beginner: A Musician’s Path to Lifelong Learning

The Perpetual Beginner: A Musician’s Path to Lifelong Learning

Dave Isaacs. Nashville Guitar Guru, $16.95 trade paper (156p) ISBN 978-0-578-52083-4

First-time author Isaacs, a Nashville musician, songwriter, and teacher, delivers a slim but strong account of the lessons that he has learned throughout a lifetime in music. Isaacs’s book is rooted in his beliefs that “music provides one of the deepest means of connection between human beings,” and that the best way to develop a musical skill that helps connect players and listeners is by maintaining a “beginner's mindset” of “openness and enthusiasm” that will allow a musician “to keep growing for a lifetime.” To this end, Isaacs presents concepts and skills that he feels “are essential for long-term learning” as a musician. The more concrete advice includes a four-step process for organizing a practice routine; a simple program of body visualization and breathing control designed to improve muscle memory; and a five-part series of exercises designed to improve improvisational skills. Philosophical advice includes musings on how to “hear the music, not the notes,” how to set personal standards for improvement, and how to look at playing as a way of having a “musical conversation” with other musicians. Isaacs’s insightful guide will be a delight for both beginning musicians and established players. (Self-published)