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Quotations for Thoughtful Musicians

Brad Howland

A collection of quotations for musicians who like to ponder these things.

"You have to learn to live without a general theory, for Pluto's sake!"
… Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"If the facts don't fit the theory… change the facts!"
… Albert Einstein

"A witty saying proves nothing."
… Voltaire

"Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity."
… Socrates

"Trying is only emphasizing the thing we know already."
… F. M. Alexander

"Practice trusting life and following your call and you will find yourself with a fun and interesting life. Practice gratitude and you will be filled with joyful moments. Practice giving away your criticism of yourself and others and you will feel as free and light as a bird in flight. Practice loving kindness and your heart will open and you will come to know your intimate connection to all things. And finally, practice choosing happiness and you will find yourself happy far more often than not."
… John Kehoe

"When we set out on this journey;
There were no doubts in our minds;
We set our eyes to the distance;
We would find what we would find.
We took courage from our numbers;
What we sought we did not fear;
Sometimes we'd glimpse a shadow falling;
The shadow would disappear."
… Sting (Ten Summoner's Tales)

"If automobiles had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls Royce would today cost a hundred dollars, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."
… Robert Cringely

"There won't come a time when you won't have to practice anymore."
… J. J. Johnson

"When we came (to Canada) we were little, weren't we? I mean our outlook on life was petty and overlaid by the things that don't really count at all. I don't think that in England I ever though straight, really, though sometimes I tried to. Life was overlaid with so many small things that the great issues were all in shadow. But out here one can see great principles at work. Life sticks out. You know what is real and vital."
… George Godwin

"One of the things you can't do when you're playing is think, because once the thought process starts, the spontaneity begins to suffer."
… Charlie Haden

"When you think in a seated posture, you think with your rump, not with your soul."
… John Cowper Powys

"Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I am delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
… Baron Munchausen

"The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder."
… Albert Einstein

"It really is a nice theory. The only defect I think it has is probably common to all philosophical theories. It's wrong."
… Saul Kripke

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
… Anatole France

"I propose we leave math to the machines and go play outside."
… Calvin

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
… Gandhi

"We have transformed information into a form of garbage, and ourselves into garbage collectors."
… Neil Postman

"Unfortunately for trombone players, Stradivarius was an instrument maker, not a plumber."
… Bob Goddard

"The best thing about the Internet is that it absorbs the attention of tens of thousands of people whom everyone would like to keep off the streets and away from our children."
… Garrison Keillor

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
… George Bernard Shaw

"When at first you don't succeed, never try again–at least, not in the same way. Trying almost always involves excessive tension."
… Patrick Macdonald

"Do, or do not. There is no try."
… Yoda

"We do not what we wish, but what we can."
"A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!"
"To enjoy the full flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks."
… Robert Heinlein

"The only thing you have to offer another human being, ever, is your own state of being."
… Ram Dass

"Hmmm… they have the Internet on computers now."
… Homer Simpson

"Shoot for the stars, maybe you'll hit the moon."
… Gordon Cherry

"Don't try to be perfect, just try to be great."
… Richard Ely

"#1. Always take a full breath. #2. Even release of air (implied)."
… Ian McDougall

"Who walks with beauty has no need of fear;
The sun and moon and stars keep pace with him;
Invisible hands restore the ruined year,
And time, itself, grows beautifully dim."
… David Morton

"The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness."
… Havelock Ellis

"Man is a thinking reed but his greatest works are done when he is not calculating and thinking."
… Daisetz T. Suzuki

"The wonder that I feel is easy,
Yet ease is the cause of wonder."
… T.S. Eliot

"Only the individual who is solitary is like a thing subject to profound laws, and if he goes out into the morning that is just beginning, or looks out into the evening that is full of things happening, and if he feels what is going on there, then his whole situation drops from him as from a dead man, although he stands in the very midst of life."
… Rainer Maria Rilke

"Solvency is entirely a matter of temperament and not of income."
… Logan Pearsall Smith

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."
… Bertrand Russell

"People are beginning to see that the first requisite to success in life is to be a good animal."
… Herbert Spencer

"O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?"
… W.B. Yeats

"Man walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his accomplishments."
… John Steinbeck

"The scientists were wrong. The most persistent principles of the universe are accident and error."
… Frank Herbert

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
… Henry D. Thoreau

"The moral flabbiness born of success. That – with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success – is our national disease."
… William James

"When taking a shower, take a shower. When playing trombone, play trombone."
… Old Zen Saying

"Sitting under a tree is good for your playing too."
… Arnold Jacobs

"There is no such thing as a wrong note."
… Mike Herriott (on improvising)

"Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the time I am being carried by great winds across the sky."
… Ojibway

About Brad

Brad Howland is the Principal Trombonist of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.

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