Inspirational Quotes by Musicians

Listed below are some inspirational quotes by musicians which are intended to give you that extra boost of confidence that we all need. Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else, and sometimes, that can make all the difference.

I will start with a famous quote and joke that is attributed to the legendary Jascha Heifetz, and sometimes, Arthur Rubinstein. We are not sure where the joke and quote started, but it’s a nice one, nonetheless.

One day, a person walking the sidewalks of New York City finds himself a bit lost. He is stopped at a crosswalk waiting for the traffic lights to signal that he can cross when he turns to Jascha Heifetz to ask for directions. “Excuse me, sir, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” To which Mr. Heifetz responds “Practice, practice, practice.”

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Quotes from Musicians: Violinists on Making Art

Here are a few quotes from famous musicians on making art. Some quotes are reflections of the players’ own thoughts, and some are general quotes on art in general. Which do you agree with the most?

inspirational quotes by musicians - Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler

Ludwig van Beethoven

“To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable!”

Joshua Bell

“Art and music is part of what it means to be a human being. And if you’re neglecting that, you’re basically ignoring a huge side of the brain and a huge side of what it means to be human.”

“When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals

“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - George Enescu

George Enescu

“The artist reveals to mankind the way to harmony, which is happiness and peace.”

Ray Chen

“One of my biggest idols is Yo-Yo Ma – he’s incredibly creative, and he’s an ambassador for classical music. Yehudi Menuhin was also like that… Happy to cross into other worlds, into other fields. It was not necessary at the time, but he did it anyway. He saw a greater vision than simply walking on stage, performing, and then walking off again. Now we need this creatively more than ever.”

Josef Gingold (on his teacher, Eugène Ysaÿe)

“His [Ysaÿe] influence has remained with me all my life – his beautiful conception of music, and his belief in the long line, as far as phrasing was concerned. He believed in beauty of sound. Never was the violin treated brutally. He believed in clarity.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Ivry Gitlis by Vita Zweig

Ivry Gitlis

“Dear young colleagues of the up-and-coming generation, please have the courage to be yourselves, to take risks and not be copies of your recordings or of others’. Practice your instrument in order to free yourself from any psycho-technical constraint, to be able to create when you play. Listen to your inner ear, which is connected directly to your heart and spirit, the one that tells you what you feel is you! And the one you don’t feel isn’t you. Remember that a beautiful “wrong” note by a Kreisler, a Thibaud, a Casals, or a Callas is worth more than a thousand so-called “right” notes and that playing that is hygienically and clinically correct is not necessarily a sign of good health! Take heart! Good health to you!”

Janine Jansen

“A wrong note played with the right intention is much to be preferred to the right note played with no soul.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Fritz Kreisler

Fritz Kreisler

“Courage, energy, and patience are the virtues which appeal to my heart.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - David Oistrakh

David Oistrakh

“The main thing is not to lose your identity and to continue working.”

Gidon Kremer

“It is far more important that someone plays music for which they feel a special affinity and have something individual to say than mere technical perfection. Perfection is in itself limited – the message should take us beyond perfection.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Anne Sophie Mutter by Bastian Achard

Anne-Sophie Mutter

“But the necessity for providing a material basis for all forms the arts transcends all economic ups and downs. Musicians have long not been satisfied with simply eking out a living through the performance of their art. Much more important is that they be afforded dignity and artistic freedom.”

Yehudi Menuhin

“The violinist must possess the poet’s gift of piercing the protective hide which grows on propagandists, stockbrokers, and slave traders, to penetrate the deeper truth which lies within.”

Nathan Milstein

“Be confident. Be successful. Be beautiful. Be intelligent. Be hard working. Be carefree. Be modest. Be driven. Be forgiving. Be creative. Be relaxed. Be motivated. Be educated. Be thoughtful. Be kind. Be determined. Be good. Just be you!”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman

“It’s always easy to become a passenger on the journey in sound, just adding volume to the whole. But if you play in an individual way, it makes the difference between good and great sound in an orchestra.”

Gil Shaham

“Lorin Maazel, the conductor, once told me: ‘Gil, you will see that music is more fun the older you get.’ He was in his seventies when he told me that… and I think I am beginning to understand what he meant.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Shinichi Suzuki

Shinichi Suzuki

“Art is not in some far-off place. A work of Art is the expression of a man’s whole personality, sensibility, and ability.”

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”

Quotes from Musicians: Practice

Here are a few quotes by musicians on their ideas of practice. Some are uplifting, and some are more forward than anything. Nonetheless, I myself find it fascinating to hear what these musicians’ thoughts are on practice. Enjoy!

inspirational quotes by musicians - Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler

Ludwig van Beethoven

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets.”

Ray Charles

“I really feel that if you’re gonna be good, you gotta practice… Practice whatever the hell you do.”

Duke Ellington

“The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.”

Midori Goto

“It should be recognized that pure perfection is unobtainable.”

Hilary Hahn

“Sometimes I like practicing, sometimes I don’t. But I like the result.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Jascha Heifetz

Jascha Heifetz

“The discipline of practice every day is essential. When I skip a day, I notice a difference in my playing. After two days, the critics notice, and after three days, so does the audience.”

“There is no top. There are always further heights to reach.”

“Take a chance. If you miss it, it will hurt only once.”

“A violinist should always be happy when he is playing. If he is playing well, he should be happy that he is playing well. If he is not playing well, then he should be happy because it will soon be over.”

Alan Hovhaness

“There is nothing like practice.”

Pinchas Zukerman

“It’s not about speed, it’s about doing it well.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman

“There are people who are uncanny, who are finished products at a young age. I wasn’t, thank God.”

“There is no such thing as getting rid of nervousness.”

Quotes from Composers: Music & Art

Some of these quotes are funny, and some of them are compassionate. Composers are the reason we have music, and as it turns out, they were wonderful human beings.

Which composer from the list is your favorite, and what did you think after reading their thoughts? Let me know in the comments down below!

inspirational quotes by musicians - Malcolm Arnold

Malcolm Arnold

“Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.”

Ludwig van Beethoven

“I would rather write 10,000 notes than a single letter of the alphabet.”

“Music can change the world.”

“Music is a high revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.”

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”

“Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler
inspirational quotes by musicians - Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.”

“The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just make sure that one note follows another…and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.”

Hector Berlioz

“Love cannot express the idea of music, while music may give an idea of love.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Hector Berlioz
inspirational quotes by musicians - John Cage

John Cage

“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”

Aaron Copland

“So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Aaron Copland
inspirational quotes by musicians - Claude Debussy by Atelier Nadar

Claude Debussy

“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.”

Frederick Delius

“Music is an outburst of the soul.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Frederick Delius
inspirational quotes by musicians - Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar

“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.”

George Frideric Handel

“I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wish to make them better.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - George Frideric Handel
inspirational quotes by musicians - Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst

“Music, being identical with heaven, isn’t a thing of momentary thrills, or even hourly ones. It’s a condition of eternity.”

Gustav Mahler

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Gustav Mahler
inspirational quotes by musicians - Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi

“The end of all good music is to affect the soul.”

Modest Mussorgsky

“Art is not an end in itself, but a means of addressing humanity.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Modest Mussorgsky
inspirational quotes by musicians - Sergei Rachmaninov

Sergei Rachmaninov

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”

Maurice Ravel

“The only love affair I have ever had was with music.”

“Music, I feel, must be emotional first and intellectual second.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Maurice Ravel
inspirational quotes by musicians - Jean Sibelius

Jean Sibelius

“Music begins where the possibilities of language end.”

Dmitri Shostakovich

“A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Dmitri Shostakovich
inspirational quotes by musicians - Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann

“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.”

Igor Stravinsky

“I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.”

A good composer does not imitate; he steals.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Igor Stravinsky
inspirational quotes by musicians - Toru Takemitsu

Toru Takemitsu

“Music is a form of prayer.”

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

“Music is not illusion, but revelation rather. Its triumphant power lies in the fact that it reveals to us beauties we find nowhere else, and that the apprehension of them is not transitory, but a perpetual reconcilement of life.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
inspirational quotes by musicians - Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi

“I adore art… when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear.”

Richard Wagner

“Imagination creates reality.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Richard Wagner
inspirational quotes by musicians - Carl Maria von Weber by Caroline Bardua

Carl Maria von Weber

“An artist’s sphere of influence is the world.”

Quotes from Musicians: Pop-Music Stars

Pop-Music has been an essential and go-to part of our lives for almost one century now, and quotes from musicians on this list are equally inspiring as any of the ones listed above. Quotes from musicians are sometimes lost in live performances, and we are lucky to have some record of the inspirational words they left us with.

Louis Armstrong

“Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.”

Berthold Auerbach

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Ray Ayers

“The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.”


“Music can change the world because it can change people.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Ray Charles

Ray Charles

“I was born with music inside me. That’s the only explanation I know of, since none of my relatives could sing or play an instrument. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.”

Eric Clapton

“From the beginning, I knew intuitively that if nothing else, music was safe, and that nobody could tell me anything about it. Music didn’t need a middleman, whereas all the other things in school needed some kind of explanation.”

Duke Ellington

“There is no art when one does something without intention.”

Billie Holiday

“When you sing, always tell the truth.”

Billy Joel

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

“Musicians want to be the loud voice for so many quiet hearts.”

BB King

“I never use that word, retire.”

“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”

John Lennon

“If art were to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.”

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Bob Marley

Bob Marley

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

“Well, by God, I’ll tell you something, friend: I have never been strung-out in my life, except on music!”

Taylor Swift

“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable.”

“People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.”

Frank Zappa

“Art is making something out of nothing, and selling it.”

Quotes by Non-Musicians: Art & Music

Quotes from musicians are a good thing for us to read, I certainly believe so! But here are some non-musical artists and thinkers who have given us their thoughts on music and art. Their words are important, and as you will find, their words speak to their professions. Check out the Harry Potter quote from Albus Dumbledore below!

Jane Austen

“Without music, life would be a blank to me.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

“Music is what tells us that the human race is greater than we realize.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”


“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

Victor Hugo

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”

Martin Luther

“As long as we live, there is never enough singing.”


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

inspirational quotes by musicians - Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

inspirational quotes by musicians - Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

“Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.”

Henry David Thoreau

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

J.K. Rowling, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

“Ah, music,’ he said, wiping his eyes. ‘A magic beyond all we do here!’” – Albus Dumbledore

Final Note

We all do need an extra bit of motivation or inspiration sometimes. I recommend you pick one or maybe a few quotes and print them. Put it in a place where you practice or where you often look to remind yourself about the beauty of music and the importance of practice.

Also, you can always visit my Video Lessons library with many motivation videos among others. Enjoy!

JVA members only: feel free to share on our Facebook group who or what motivates you to learn how to play the violin. I believe we can all benefit from each other’s knowledge & inspiration! Also make sure to have a look through what the other members posted, to get inspired to practice 😊

Which inspirational quote surprised you the most? Please comment below, I’d love to know!

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