Robert Schumann's Advice to Young Musicians Revisited by Steven Isserlis
by Robert Schumann, edited by Steven Isserlis, commentaries by Steven Isserlis
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Cloth: 978-0-226-48274-3 | Electronic: 978-0-226-48288-0
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226482880.001.0001
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYREVIEWSTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

If everybody were to play first violin, we could not have an orchestra. Therefore respect each musician in his own place.

There is no end to learning.

Originally published in1850, Advice to Young Musicians: Musical Rules for Home and in Life offered composer Robert Schumann’s (1810–56) combination of practical advice and poetic words of wisdom for young people beginning their musical education. Presented in aphorisms and short paragraphs, the book’s insights remain as valuable today as when it was written. Recognizing the continued resonance of Schumann’s words, world-renowned cellist Steven Isserlis, himself a writer of children’s books and many articles for young musicians, set out to rescue the work from history. Here, in this beautiful gift edition, he revisits Schumann’s work and contributes his own contemporary counsel for musicians and music lovers.

For this edition, Isserlis retranslated Schumann’s text and arranged it into four thematic sections: “On being a musician,” “Playing,” “Practicing,” and “Composing.” Each page is decoratively designed, and accompanying Schumann’s original quotation are Isserlis’s thoughtful and often humorous glosses. The book concludes with Isserlis’s own reflections on his life as a musician and performer: “My Own Bits of Advice (For What They’re Worth).”  The result is a unique and thought-provoking book that will be treasured by aspiring musicians of any age.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Steven Isserlis appears as a cellist regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and in recitals at major venues worldwide; he is also the artistic director of the famous International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. In addition, he is the author of two children’s books, Why Handel Waggled His Wig and Why Beethoven Threw the Stew: And Lots More Stories About the Lives of Great Composers.
 

REVIEWS

"Isserlis takes Robert Schumann’s Advice to Young Musicians a sentence or so at a time, offering explanation and commentary that let Schumann talk directly to us, in an open and somehow contemporary manner. The advice is all superb, but, as Isserlis notes, it can seem overwhelming. Schumann does recommend that his young musician break up study with walks and poetry, but executing all his recommendations would leave little time for the rest of life.”
— Times Literary Supplement

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

On Being a Musician

Playing

Practising

Composing

My Own Bits of Advice (For What They’re Worth)

On Being a Musician

Playing

Practising

Composing

Appendix

Acknowledgements