Becoming the Instrument: January 2022

Jazz Legend Kenny Werner at Hurleyville General Store
January 2022

HURLEYVILLE– When we hear music, we often experience how the physical flirts with the spiritual in profound and moving ways. But what we don’t realize is that this confluence is possible not just in music, but in life, and it’s easier than you think, says the founder and musical director of the Effortless Mastery Institute at the Berklee College of Music, Kenny Werner, in his new book, “Becoming the Instrument: Lessons on Self-Mastery from Music to Life” (Sweet Lo Press; January, 2022).
Mr. Werner, a South Fallsburg-based, internationally renowned American jazz pianist and Grammy Award nominee, has an in-person book event scheduled at the Hurleyville General Store on Saturday, January 15 at 2 p.m.
The new book begs the question: how can you channel your potential to live a more creative and fulfilling life? It serves as a follow-up to Mr. Werner’s landmark book published 26-years ago, “Effortless Mastery: Liberating The Master Musician Within,” which sold more than 150,000 copies and was translated into seven languages. It led to the development of the Effortless Mastery Institute at Berklee College of Music, where Mr. Werner is the Artist Director.
Packed with profound insights and uplifting anecdotes from his 40 years of studying, performing and teaching music, “Becoming the Instrument…” is a guide for accessing the spiritual in our everyday existence and applying it to the pursuits we love. Mr. Werner shows how musicians, artists or even business people can allow their “master creator” within to lift their performance to its highest level, showing us how to be spontaneous, fearless, joyful and disciplined in our work and in our life.
Whatever you are trying to master, Mr. Werner says, the key is learning how to slip into “the space,” the place beyond the conscious mind that allows us to effortlessly embody whatever we are doing. Entering this sort of flow state may seem esoteric and difficult to achieve, but Mr. Werner has easy exercises that allow you to access this and achieve mastery. As he points out, “mastery is not perfection, or even virtuosity. It is giving oneself love, forgiving one’s mistakes, and not allowing earthly evidence to diminish one’s view of one’s self as a drop in the Ocean of Perfection,”
“And here is the good news: You don’t have to be a musician to have the experience!” Mr. Werner says.
Mr. Werner has been a world-class pianist and composer for over 40 years. His prolific output of compositions, recordings and publications continue to impact audiences around the world. In 1996 he wrote his landmark book, “Effortless Mastery: Liberating The Master Musician Within.” He was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his seminal work, “No Beginning No End,” a musical journey exploring tragedy and loss, death and transition, and the path from one lifetime to the next. He has performed with such legendary musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Buckley, Toots Thielemans, Charles Mingus, Marian McPartland, Bobby McFerrin, Lou Rawls, Michel Legrand, Gunther Schuller, Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Elvin Jones and many more.
Mr. Werner has composed for international orchestras, received numerous NEA grants and been nominated for an Emmy Award.
His new book will be available at the Hurleyvile General Store. It is 268 pages in paperback, and sells for $24.95.