“Learn from as many people as possible, always with a goal of becoming who you are meant to be instead of a copy of someone else. Jazz musicians should always be seeking what the masters sought. Writers should find good editors and trusted readers and take every suggestion seriously.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Cole, a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books. He is the author of Motherless Child, a dystopian look at the future of the United States, as well as numerous books on music and music instruction. He is well-known as a top influencer in music and self-publishing.
I began my career as a jazz musician straight out of college in 1991. All the years I was working around Atlanta, I was chronicling my journey in books and online, telling people what I was learning about as a musician and a person. Over the years I’ve developed a faithful following.
I met Ahmad Jamal after he played a concert in Spivey Hall. He was greeting people and I came up and said, “Hi, I’m Adam Cole and I’m just a working piano player here in Atlanta.” He said, “Nice to meet you. I’m just a working piano player too.” That made me feel terrific!
When I learn something, I write about it, publish it and share it. Sometimes it’s something almost no one has written about, like Ballet Accompanying. Other times its a topic that has been covered a lot, like how to teach children to read music, and I think I can explain it better. My favorite thing to do, though, is put what I’ve learned in novels like Motherless Child, where my characters can act out my inner struggle, to be free, to be different, to survive.
Learn from as many people as possible, always with a goal of becoming who you are meant to be instead of a copy of someone else. Jazz musicians should always be seeking what the masters sought. Writers should find good editors and trusted readers and take every suggestion seriously.
I’ve had dozens of teachers who have answered “yes” when I said, “Do you believe in me?” One of the most important was my piano teacher at Georgia State, Dr. Geoffrey Haydon. In my lessons, he heard my anxiety about wanting to create perfect performances, wanting to be immune from mistakes. “But what if it’s the last time I ever play this piece?” I said to him. “It’s never the last time,” he said. I loved that. It changed the way I thought about everything.
I have opened the Grant Park Academy of the Arts with Ms. Katherine Moore in Atlanta. We’re enrolling students and developing new ways every day to teach kids, teens and pros how to exceed their expectations as musicians and people. It’s a whole new chapter in my life and I’m thrilled to have the best business partner on the planet to make it happen.
Also, I’ve just entered into an agreement with Royal Fireworks Press. They’re publishing a number of my non-fiction books that have previously only been available as E-books. To support the books and the school, I am anticipating doing a lot more speaking around the country. I’ll also be offering some online courses through them, so everyone should follow me through my website and social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to find out about the classes as they open up.
Bruce Springsteen…he always served as my biggest role model, in terms of how to be a great artist and how to manage one’s success and still have a family. He offered so much of his inner life in his recent autobiography and I found that very helpful. I would love to be able to look him in the eye and thank him for all he’s shared, especially that was risky and personal, so that folks like myself know we’re not alone and we’re not crazy.
Originally published at medium.com