Five Books for Your Holiday Gift List

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Are you looking for something to give your favorite musician this holiday season? Or possibly a new book or two for your own collection?

Here are some suggestions for great books for any musician on your list, including you.

1. Just for harpists: Harps and Harpists, Revised Edition
This is a classic, and one that every harpist should have. I usually give this as a gift to my students when the graduate from high school. The book is not only filled with information that every harpist should know, but it is a beautiful book, truly coffee table worthy.

2. Classical music:  The Life and Death of Classical Music: Featuring the 100 Best and 20 Worst Recordings Ever Made
Norman Lebrecht’s books always command my attention. He has written twelve books on music, and his daily blog, Slipped Disc (I am a subscriber), is a leading source for news about classical music in Britain and the U.S.  This book is a fascinating look at the changing world of classical music our time, seen through the recordings that were produced and sold.  If you ever wondered why classical music has seen challenges, this book will provide some possible answers.

3. Music Business: Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music
Unlike some music business books that focus heavily on contracts, agents and legal issues, this book is a real “how-to” guide for any musician, You will find information about everything from residencies, to websites, to good day-jobs for musicians. A truly useful guide for anyone looking to make a career in music.

4. Personal Growth:  The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Pressfield’s classic work on beating the resistance that can keep us from achieving is a must-read. The book can turn the tables in your thinking about how you work and what is holding you back. Whether you put this on your gift list or not, you must read it before you take on your goals for the New Year.

5. Just for fun: A Musician’s Dictionary
The definitions are real, but the humor has been added to bring a smile to the face of every musician.  This is part of a fun series of books that David Barber has written on musical topics.  Any of these would make a great stocking stuffer!

Do you have any suggestions to share?

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  • Carole Smith

    Hi Anne,

    Just wanted to drop a note thanking you for your excellent articles and, of course, the technical online classes we took in the fall. I see a difference not only in my playing, but also in my attitude toward my playing.

    Sunday I played with a church organist friend of mine at her church near West Chester, PA. (Yes, I was driving home in that whiteout.) We played 5 songs over the course of the service. Some were better than others. The big thing was I did not dwell on the fact the music wasn’t perfect. People came up and thanked me for the beautiful music and wanted to look at the harp close up. I also noticed that I didn’t want to throw up before the service. So I guess you are getting through to me. No more hiding behind 14 other harps and just get by for me.

    Thanks again and best wished for a great holiday and new year.



    • Anne Post author

      Congratulations! Doesn’t it feel wonderful to play the harp for people and enjoy it, or at least not want to throw up beforehand? Playing in public confidently is a process and a journey, but you have made the biggest step. I’m so happy for you – this made my day!

      I’m glad you made it home safely in that terrible weather. I love the snow, when I don’t have to drive in it.
      Merry Christmas to you too!


  • Elizabeth Volpé Bligh

    I also recommend The talent Code by Daniel Coyle, and The Practice Revolution by Philip Johnston. Also, astronaut Chris Hadfield’s book A Guide to Life on Earth is very useful to musicians, since he talks about preparing for worst-case scenarios in order to be fully prepared for any eventuality.


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