Non Fiction Review: In Tune

In Tune by Richard Wolf
In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness
by Richard Wolf

2 out of 5 stars

This book teaches the reader how to meditate by focusing on the breath using techniques of listening and creativity that musicians also use.

As a professional pianist, I didn’t quite find what I expected in this book. I thought it would be a book about USING music as a way to meditate, but this is mostly about how music practice and meditation practice share the same techniques and characteristics. I guess I was looking for advice about meditating WHILE playing an instrument or listening to music, but the author advises meditating in complete silence.

The writing is clear and interesting, but verbose and repetitive. The writing style is beautifully lyrical, but quickly becomes tedious as each paragraph is overloaded with words.

Each chapter is a restating of the same meditation ideas that have already been introduced in previous chapters with just a slight difference in the perspective. All of the meditation guides are very similar: focus on the breath, think of a mantra, imagine a sound. I would have preferred more variety.
It’s all excellent advice on meditation, but it’s the same concepts through twelve chapters. This book could have been much shorter. I enjoyed the first chapter, and my enjoyment diminished with every chapter because I got tired of reading the same things over and over. Each chapter has a slightly different focus, but not enough to warrant an entire chapter as if it was a new concept.

There are also some strange ideas about spirituality and enlightenment that I didn’t agree with, but those were few and far between so I just ignored them. Those things did not influence my enjoyment of the book.
The author also includes some stories and anecdotes of famous musicians, rap artists, and rock bands that he has known in his career as a composer and producer. I didn’t like a single one of those stories. They had nothing to do with the topic of meditation, and they were full of drugs and ugliness. Those DID influence my enjoyment of the book. In a negative way.

There are some really good ideas in this book about meditation and about the characteristics it shares with music. I think many musicians would be inspired to try meditation and deepen their meditation practice with the concepts in this book.

All the elements for a good book are there, but the execution left me feeling bored instead of inspired. However, that might just be from my own mood and expectations while reading. Other people might enjoy the book much more than I did.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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