Emotions, experiences, expression – 60 inspiring proverbs and quotes on music on World Music Day 2021

From composition to culture, YourStory presents a wealth of witty insights from around our planet on the occasion of World Music Day.
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Over a hundred countries around the world celebrate World Music Day on June 21 every year. Originally started in France in 1982 as a celebration of summer, it honours amateur and professional musicians and encourages everyone to appreciate and play music.

In pre-COVID times, free performances were held in several parks, indoor venues, and even street corners. This year, most performances are being held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the spirit of the music will carry on and triumph.

In this compilation, we present 60 inspiring proverbs and quotes from around the world on the beauty, power, and joy of music. See also our earlier compilations on World Oceans Day, World Jazz Day, and World Book Day, and app ‘Oktav: Music Quotes and Proverbs’ (accessible on Apple and Android platforms.)

Roman Zavada

You can sing even at the grinding stone. - Marathi proverb

Be patient with your drum, the night is long. - African proverb

The noisiest drum has nothing in it but air. - English Proverb

Even without drumbeats, banana leaves dance. - African proverb

The music lover carries the drums. - Ghanaian proverb

When the music stops, a deaf person continues to dance. - Igbo proverb

Indian Music Experience

God respects me when I work, but He loves me when I sing. - Rabindranath Tagore

Music is the soul of India. It has always been my life as well. - Pandit Ravishankar

Global collaborations help you to seek and pursue new directions. - L. Subramaniam

It is always interesting playing outside your home country, people react to the music without any preconceived notions. - Dhruv Ghanekar

In Africa, songs are performed everywhere - peace, war, birth, death. - N'faly Kouyate

The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad tale. – Nelson Mandela

If music is a place - then jazz is the city, folk is the wilderness, rock is the road, classical is a temple. - Vera Nazarian

Culturas 360

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. - Victor Hugo

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. - Plato

Music has great power for bringing people together. - Ted Turner

Music is not just the black dots on the white paper - it's what happens when those black dots on the white paper go into your heart, and come out again. - Phil Smith

Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light. - Claude Debussy

Music is the best means we have of digesting time. - WH Auden

Bebel Gilberto

Music is the best medicine - it is better than taking pills, it is your soulmate. - Sarah Chebaro

Music is the shorthand of emotion. - Leo Tolstoy

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. - Charlie Parker

Music keeps people sane. - Zoot Sims

Where words fail, music speaks. - Hans Christian Andersen

Without music, life is a journey through a desert. - Pat Conroy

Chick Corea

A good quartet is like a good conversation among friends interacting with each other's ideas. - Stan Getz

A musician's like a doctor, you're supposed to heal people. - Steve Turre

All of the sounds of the earth are like music. - Oscar Hammerstein

As long as you've got your horn in your mouth, you're developing. - Zoot Sims

Blues is a condition which doesn’t change from generation to generation. Every generation discovers it in its own way. - John Hammond

Chieli Minucci

Do not be afraid of being wrong; just be afraid of being uninteresting. - T. Carl Whitmer

Do not fear mistakes. There are none. - Miles Davis

If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards. - Joe Pass

If you're going to make a mistake, make it loud so everybody else sounds wrong. - Joe Venuti

Wrong is right. - Thelonious Monk

It is always a learning curve being a musician. You can never stop learning and being inspired. - Kevin Henderson

Indian Music Experience

Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you. - Charlie Parker

Drum soloing is like doing a marathon and solving equations at the same time. - Neil Peart

Every thing and every human action revolves in rhythm. - Babatunde Olatunji

External instruments are only extensions of the biological instrument. - Yusef Lateef

How you play a note is just as important as what note that is. - Henry Kaiser

If no one decided to try blend blue and red, there would be no purple! Fusion is necessary in order for music to evolve. - Louie Talan

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Jazz is about being in the moment. - Herbie Hancock

Jazz is the art of thinking out loud. - Barbara Januszkiewicz

Life is a lot like jazz, it’s best when you improvise. - George Gershwin

Jazz is the type of music that can absorb so many things and still be jazz. - Sonny Rollins

A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges. - Benny Green

Richard Bona

Rhythm is the multi-culti common ground of the human family. -Tony Vacca

Rhythm is the soul of life, because the whole universe revolves around rhythm, and when we get out of rhythm, that’s when we get into trouble. - Babatunde Olatunji

Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that’s what we are. - Mickey Hart

Life is like a trumpet - if you don't put anything into it, you don't get anything out of it. - William Christopher Handy

The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colors in your mind. - Maria Cristina Mena

Drum Circle

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. - Charles Mingus

Improvisation is the ability to talk to oneself. - Cecil Taylor

Rap is only one end of a whole spectrum of verbal play and virtuosity. Rap is geared for aural pleasure. - Rita Dove

Reggae has a philosophy, you know? It's not just entertainment. - Ziggy Marley

Ilu Leto

Some songs are just like tattoos for your brain, you hear them and they're affixed to you. - Carlos Santana

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture. - Thelonious Monk

Traveling with a big band is like being an inmate in a traveling zoo. - Hoagy Carmichael

Your horn is your passport to the world. - Tommy Smith

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

(Image credits: Madanmohan Rao)

Edited by Suman Singh

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