Get it off the paper!

Years ago in music school while reading a music chart, one of my favorite teachers insisted we get the music off the paper and make it our own. Quite simply this means that after you’ve read it a couple of times, its important to quickly make the music your own, that you can play it without looking at the paper, so that it doesn’t exist solely on paper but within you. This is how the beauty of music will really come about.

This morning I was thinking about “getting it off the paper”, and realized this pertains to everyone who reads a book. For example if you read a book about swimming, it may stimulate your brain and you may have had a few “Aha!!!!” moments. But you need to get it off the paper and actually swim and do some of the things mentioned in the book. You won’t be able to bring the book with you in the water, you’ll have to do it without the book. That’s when the swimming truly belongs to you. That’s when you will truly learn and most importantly enjoy.

So my post here isn’t just for musicians, its for everyone one of us who reads in order to enlighten or entertain. Once you get it off the paper, which seems weird at first, it will belong to you. You can actually do something with it which is waaaay more than 98% of the population out there.