100 Days of Practice, Round 2, Day 25: Learning from Books

As a professional music writer/editor, it is my business to help authors craft beautifully written and perfectly relevant book introductions. But, as a musician learning from a book, I make it my business to skip the intros and and get right to the nitty gritty music. Who cares what the author has to say! It's all about the content!

Tsk, tsk. Naughty book user.

I've owned and worked with Dave Mallinson's 100 Essential Irish Session Tunes for eight years or more. Tonight, I read the intro for the first time. (Yes, yes... I KNOW.) Mallinson says that his book is intended to give session-friendly, "perfectly acceptable" versions of 100 of the most widely known and played Irish session tunes. But, Mallinson also cautions:

...I consider it unwise to learn a tune from only one source and I would suggest strongly that, when learning a new tune, you pay heed to settings in other books and recordings... Books will only help you to learn the notes of a tune. To pick up the rhythm of Irish music you must devote a large amount of time listening to both recordings and live musicians. Of greatest importance, you must practise; the value of this book is directly proportional to the number of hours a day you spend practising.

Smart guy.