Question: Is it better to play music from memory rather than to read it off a sheet of music?

Sri Chinmoy: Here you are all interested in the spontaneous fountain of the heart. If you can play the music by heart, you can give life to it; you can add real life to it. But when you read the music, the eyes are seeing the paper and the mind is operating very nicely. At that time, the mental consciousness enters into the picture; the paper consciousness enters into the mind, and the spontaneous, soulful qualities are all gone. So let the fountain flow only from the heart. If you have another small fountain in the mind, in spite of having a big fountain in the heart, you are going to create a problem. Again, if you know all the notes but just play mechanically, that also is not good. You shall learn by heart, but you shall also give life to the music while playing. You are representing spirituality. Reading the music will take away from the spiritual quality, even though it is the usual method. I am trying to bring out spiritual music from all my children.

Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician.First published by Agni Press in 1976.

This is the 168th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book God the Supreme Musician, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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