Liz Lawrence
Liz Lawrence

Recommended Reading

Music Theory/Reference

'The Guitar Grimoire Chord Encyclopedia' by Adam Kadmon, is the most complete and comprehensive chord theory resource out there.

'The Real Book- Sixth Edition-' a collection of jazz standards for all skill levels.

'The Nashville Number System,'  by Chas Williams, explains the concept and practical use of "the number system" as an efficient means of notation and communication in professional musical situations. 

Pedal Steel Guitar methods

'Pedal Steel Guitar,' by Winnie Winston, is the quintessential book for a beginning steel player. It allows the reader to begin reading PSG tab, learn country/folk standards, and gain familiarity with the primary movements involved in playing this instrument.

'Pedal Steel Guitar: A Manual of Style', compiled and edited by Winnie Winston, explores different playing styles and approaches of four highly regarded steel guitarists: Terry Bethel, Jimmie Crawford, John Hughey, and Weldon Myrick.  

Cognitive Process

'The Talent Code' by Daniel Coyle, approaches the cognitive, emotional, and physiological processes of learning, and how the understanding of these processes can help us efficiently develop gifts and optimize performance. 

'Thinking, Fast and Slow,' by Daniel Kahneman, explains the two systems that drive the way we think. Understanding our cognitive biases can help us learn how to slow down and shape our judgements and desicions to better benefit our personal and professional lives. 

'Musicophilia- Tales of Music and the Brain,' by Oliver Sacks, is a fascinating exploration of the inner workings of the brain, detailing vast experiences of human understanding and experience of music.

'Talent is Overrated,' by Geoff Colvin, presents the factors that affect an individual's performance and learning abilities, and how to apply new concepts for gain and progress in any chosen field of study. The book provides many examples of this working in action over a vast range of professional fields.  

(Similar subject matter to 'The Talent Code') 

Performance Related Anxiety

Check out the most well written, effective approach I've found on tackling performance anxiety, written by Barbara Conable, by clicking here.

Physical Health/ Playing Injuries

"The Bassist's Guide to Injury Management, Prevention, and Better Health' explains common injuries and overuse problems that working bassists (and guitarists) face, using easy to understand language and images.

Dr. Randall Kertz explains a large array of injuries using 3 simple points of focus: Ailment/symptoms, what it is, and what to do. 





***Dr. Randall Kertz is also a great consultant and advocate for musicians with overuse or playing-related injuries. Personally, I have used his services and easily recommend.


'Zen Guitar,' by Philip Toshio Sudo, links philosophy and musicianship.

'Effortless Mastery,' by Kenny Werner, takes a mindful, whole approach to playing and practicing; the objective being to guide the reader in finding ways to practice, improvise, and perform effortlessly. 

'The Mysticism of Sound and Music' is a collection of lectures and addresses given by Sufi teacher, Hazarat Inayat Khan. This is a great book for someone looking to link music, sound, language, and the power of words to a deeper spiritual practice. 

'The Musician's Soul,' is an honest and contemplative take on the inner journey of a musician, written from James Jordan's experiences and perceptions during his career as a conductor. He quotes many other sources throughout the book, which could provide to be resources for those who might want to keep digging into these concepts.

The quintessential takeaway, for me, has been his take on envy and the 'mimetic predicament' of the musician.

Sound and Symbol by Victor Zuckerkandl.


"The present study attempts to reinstate music as an instrument of philosophical inquiry. It seeks not so much a philosophy of music, as a philosophy through music...." 


"Music conceived in this way has important implications for metaphysical philosophy: it insists upon a broad conception of the external world, and the examples it provides of motion and time and space become as significant as those of science." 

Man the Musician by Victor Zuckerkandl

This is, essentially, "Sound and Symbol, Vol II," Taking the concepts described in the above mentioned publication to a new level. 

"...He regards the phenomenon of musicality as a trait common to all human beings, and analyzes at legnth the ways in which we perceive music, examining the processes involved in our sensitivity to tone, dynamic tone qualities, musical movement, and the structure of whole musical works." 

'Power vs Force,' by Dr. David Hawkins, is a compelling break down of human emotion, and what constitutes "true power."

Dr. Hawkins defines power, what affects and changes life, human behavior, and more. Geared towards those with spiritual or metaphysical interest. Concepts herein are sometimes broadly defined, but can easily be applied to musicianship.

Behavior/ Situational Awareness

'The Gift of Fear,' by Gavin de Becker, breaks down numerous systems involved in identifying and recognizing subtle signs of danger and violence. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

'How to Win Friends and Influence People' by Dale Carnegie. Useful information that can help one navigate an unpredictable and unregulated industry. Some people do this naturally... and others should read this book. :) Applicable to managing toxic personalities, sensitive teamwork situations, complex/problematic gigs, etc. 


'Daring Greatly,' by Brene Brown, motivates and disarms the reader by explaining and breaking down the emotional barriers that inhibit participation in vulnerable creative and emotional endeavors.

'Big Magic,' by Elizabeth Gilbert, discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits that we need to cultivate in order to live fulfilling, creative lives. 

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