Advice for Young Musicians – Sonny Rollins responds to the New Yorker article

Advice for Young Musicians - Sonny Rollins responds to the New Yorker article

sunny I want to jump over to the Twitter feed your reference before of you're concerned about the reaction among young musicians and also you've made the point out there's so many young students in jazz programs around the world I've got a question here on Twitter from Jess Whitney the question is what advice do you have for young jazz musicians who may be discouraged to continue into the competitive world of music well there's one thing about music music is beyond politics it's beyond economics and therefore if you're going to do music you have to either you know some people I know leather guys that I began but Lee started music and Heather got married that family and better get away from it you can't do it you can't do it very few people can after you become successful yes then you can have a family bla bla bla so if you worrying about dream I going to make a living playing Aslan well how am I going to make it blend jazz is not for you then just listen to it because to play it as we're seeing it by dint of this imbroglio involvement now then the people against it people are against that kind of freedom and that kind of realization of a human being been wild there is something else in life besides buying hot dogs and going to the ballgame by the way I love the ball games too but that's not all there is to life there's something beautiful about life in as expressed through music so if you worrying about well gee am I gonna make it I'm good am I good enough well then don't do it because music it can't decide about that that's got to be individual decision as it were what do what do you want to do with your life but in terms of your life there was no question in your mind for when you were a young man what was your path well in my case at a very young age I was exposed to music I supposed to Fats Waller as born in Harlem and I heard all its music around me I knew I loved music and then Louis doing all these guys and want to play like and then one day well as a boy it came to me that I was going to be successful in my career in my life as a musician so that was my na and I have so I don't know if everybody is going to be xss successful as I am or not but that's not the point everybody can't be John Coltrane so everybody can't be Miles Davis but we need music still so we have to have people playing music you have to have people claim music people want to hear music so you have to be careful if you're thinking well gee you am I going to make enough money to feed my family or to have a nice car and live in a nice house music doesn't respect that music is someplace else and if you love music you feel that you have enough talent then you've got to go there never mind all this other stuff if not then don't do it for a profession do it when we get home from work maybe and even then it's a serious undertaking for sure


  • JujiWujii says:

    by the way

  • Lineial Quantum says:

    “Music is someplace else” indeed

  • y34r says:

    Reflecting what i have been through as jazz musician in my 20s , now that i’m in my 30s.
    What sonny said here has always been so true. Once you have given your life to music, it will devour and demand all your energy that if you want to truly enjoy it at highest level. In my 20s, i will always be worried of jobs , relationship , acceptance or fame. still i was not practicing and not developing my music enough.

    If Music is truly your life , you will never get tired of practicing. It’s just constant discovery and learning.

  • dereckvon says:

    School us, Sonny. Respect.

  • Jedi Rusty says:

    Sad but true, I studied jazz right out of high school and gave up after a few semesters and went back in my late thirties and it’s tough. So competitive, just gotta ignore all that and keep your head down and practice.

  • Jess Arnold says:

    I was the young woman who asked this question on Twitter years ago. Man, how times have changed. I thought I was going to go to college to study Jazz Performance. I still play piano in an ensemble at college- which is fine by me- and seeing this video two years after really reflects how I've changed as a musician and individual as well. Great advice. Ya gotta follow the heart regardless of the tangible rewards. Music is someplace else- and it always will be.

  • Cappa says:

    for people that aren't familiar with the article, could you please put in the info what the article was about? thank you. I clicked on the video because I feel like this man has some wisdom to drop on me.

  • duhcohtuh says:

    Thank you.

  • dingoswamphead says:

    'Music is someplace else': he shows us in the most practical way. Thanks Sonny and JVG.

  • Derek Bullock says:


  • Usernamee101 says:

    Wow. Honest and useful advice. Thanks Sonny!

  • Jesse and Roman Cerna says:

    Please check out our video. Trying to get Ellen De Genres attention. Thank you

  • Ryan Kisor says:

    this is amazing

  • FerriniProductions says:

    Bret, your bringing Sonny's light, love and perspective to our little glowing devices around the world is such a powerful and moving thing. Congrats to you and thank god for Sonny Rollins music and his words.  

  • dhadleyray says:

    That was some of the best advice I've ever heard.. Thanks for that Sonny.. and JVG.

  • Will Ridley says:

    Yeah I just play for a hobby I suppose for now. Went to school for jazz and the pretty much took all the fun out of it

  • rillloudmother says:

    I love to hear Sonny talk. He reminds me of when NY was populated with NYers.

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