What is music to you? What would you be without music? Music is everything. Nature is music (cicadas in the tropical night). The sea is music, the wind is music. The rain drumming on the roof and the storm raging in the sky are music. Music is the oldest entity. The scope of music is immense and infinite. It is the ‘esperanto’ of the world.

Duke Ellington

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.

Charlie Parker

To me if it’s anything, jazz is a verb, it’s more like a process than it is a thing. It’s a form that demands that you bring to it things athat are valuable to you, that are personal to you. That, for me, is a pretty serious distinction that doesn’t have anything to do with blues, or swing, or any of these other things that tend to be listed as essentials in order for music to be jazz with a capital J

Pat Metheny

Works of art make rules, rules do not make works of art.

Claude Debussy

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

John Cage

I’m an adventurer. I like invention, I like discovery.

Karlheinz Stockhausen

There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.

Duke Ellington

To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.

Leonard Bernstein

Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.

Johannes Brahms

Competitions are for horses,
not artists.

Bela Bartok

Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.

Miles Davis

My creed for art in general is that it should enrich the soul; it should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise… a part of yourself you never knew existed.

Bill Evans

It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line.

Duke Ellington

I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing, even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.

Thelonious Monk

All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.

John Coltrane

I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.

J. S. Bach

Don’t fear mistakes. There are none.

Miles Davis

Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded.

Jimi Henrix

A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.

Dmitri Shostakovich

The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice.

Andre Segovia

There is no art without intention.

Duke Ellington

A good solo is like a book. It will start out in a phrase, it will go on in paragraphs, and then it will have a great ending.

Steve Vai