Music Lessons

Wiseman, Bob

  • Bob Wiseman believes most things in life are universal or, as Lauryn Hill says, everything is everything. Bearing in mind that advice, Wiseman writes about finding the link between music and daily life, like what is common between Mary Margaret O’Hara, hiding around the corner with the lights turned off in order to record herself and his 5-year-old insisting he stop hurrying to her dance lesson and marvel at the fluff ball she is blowing toward the ceiling. Each entry is unique and compellingly written, but the themes throughout — on improvisational music, life lessons, and conflict — are ubiquitous.


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  • Bob Wiseman likes having fun. He was on CNN lying about wanting to change his name to Prince; he played accordion on “If I Had a Million Dollars” by the Barenaked Ladies; he produced Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch’s “Shame-Based Man”; he was the composer for The Drawer Boy, winner of the 2018 Best Feature Film at the Canadian Film Awards; and Odetta took his hands in hers and kissed them after hearing him play prepared piano at the Bitter End on Earth Day 2000. He was also a founding member of Blue Rodeo but quit in the early ’90s when he no longer found it fun.

  • Published: July 2020

    ISBN: 9781770415126

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 304


“Stimulating, thought provoking, and sometimes just provoking, Wiseman’s ruminations on all things musical (and beyond) are a trip worth taking.” — Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Wiseman’s bite-size anecdotes, koans, allegories and highly stylish fragments, torn either from his memoirs or the pages of user manuals for unknown appliances, are super-smart, hilarious, highly addictive and persistent in their insistence on lingering in the reader’s mind long after first encounter! Bravo, Bob!” — Guy Maddin, filmmaker

“Reading Music Lessons is like listening to the finest of mix-tapes, curated by that disarmingly philosophical friend who knows way more about music than you do. A must-read for musicians, students of music, parents of students of music and anyone who’s ever thought an MRI machine sounds like industrial ambient rock.” — Carolyn Taylor of Baroness Von Sketch

“o my, this is fucking genius!!! making me smile like a 2 month old baby farting!!! real fucking cool style of writing. i’m sold on being amazed by page 2!” — Rami Jaffee of Foo Fighters

“You can say what you like about Bob Wiseman, but I would like to see you try and make it stick.” — Peter Paul Van Camp, poet

“Like most of Bob Wiseman's artistic endeavours, his book Music Lessons flows effortlessly, teaming with all the honesty, insight, curiosity, humour, integrity, originality, quirkiness, and mischievousness you've come to expect from this amazing, singular voice.” — Greg Richling, music producer, formerly of The Wallflowers

Music Lessons has taught me to never underestimate the keyboard virtuosity of its author, whether is be via a piano tsunami, or a typed tirade well-tempered by poetry and wit.” – John Oswald, composer

“Each little bonsai-essay, exchange, or pedestrian encounter (the sweet lemon-drop, the subtle caramel, or the tart Swedish Fish) makes you glad Mr. Wiseman took the trouble to write these memorable, provocative, and deeply intelligent/inquisitive/poetic/philosophical improvisations.” – David Gaines, writer/actor/teacher 

“More esoteric in nature, Music Lessons is written in digestible koan-like snippets that shine a light on Bob's curated thought subscriptions and draw attention to the balance of his high-interest memory bank.” — Roots Music Canada

“Wiseman comes across by turns as charming, fractious, funny, eccentric, annoying, sometimes unfocused but almost always as super intelligent.” — Winnipeg Free Press