Book Review: Principles of Music by Bryan Baker

One of the first times I saw Bryan Baker play was during a Berklee commencement concert back in 2005. It was my during very first semester in Berklee and I was blown away. Later on, I would take private lessons with him that helped my playing tremendously. His high energy and intense playing was something that I remember being extremely fascinated with. Even now, he’s still one of my favorite musicians! In this book review instalment, I share some thoughts on Bryan’s first book, Principles of Music.

The book is only 34 pages long but packs tremendous wisdom and value. It’s kind of a repeatable college level (or life level) course with homework to challenge your way of thinking. Examining one topic at a time, Bryan gets you into his world where the basics, i.e. the principles of music are what you need to master in order to find your musical voice.

The 7 principles discussed are:

  1. Sound
  2. Phrasing
  3. Melody
  4. Space
  5. Energy
  6. Unity
  7. Personal Voice

You can actually quickly read through the book but to get maximum value from it, spending at least a week to at least few months doing the exercises from each chapter can definitely help you level up.

Think in-between Mick Goodrick’s The Advancing Guitarist and Wayne Krantz’s The Improviser’s OS and you have basically where Bryan’s book is at philosophically speaking. That’s the vibe that I get from it.

Pros: Extremely good book for all levels of musicians, not just guitarists.
TLDR: If you want to get new ideas to work on developing your own musical identity while getting your fundamentals stronger, get this book. Not for complete beginners. If you expect hand holding, this is not the book for you.

I bought this book when it was first released back as an e-book only release in 2010. Since then, I’ve gotten a physical copy (paperback) which is pretty neat.

How to Buy:
Get your copy of the book (e-book, physical and audio book versions available) here:

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NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

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