This is Steve Lacy’s transcription, who played with Monk in 1960. Lacy’s introduction to Thelonious Monk: His Life and Music uses the below material explicitly.
Download a copy of the original notes in pdf format
or you can read Monk’s Advice below:
- Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.
- Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head, when you play.
- Stop playing all those weird notes (that bullshit), play the melody!
- Make the drummer sound good.
- Discrimination is important.
- You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?
- ALL REET!
- Always know….(MONK)
- It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.
- Let’s lift the band stand!!
- I want to avoid the hecklers.
- Don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that. Don’t listen to me. I’m supposed to be accompanying you!
- The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.
- Don’t play everything (or every time); let some things go by. Some music just imagined. What you don’t play can be more important that what you do.
- A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.
- Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig, and when it comes, he’s out of shape and can’t make it.
- When you’re swinging, swing some more.
- (What should we wear tonight? Sharp as possible!)
- Always leave them wanting more.
- Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene. These pieces were written so as to have something to play and get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal.
- You’ve got it! If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, you got it! (To a drummer who didn’t want to solo)
- Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.
- They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it.