42 Ingeniously Motivational Miles Davis Quotes

Davis said a lot of great things. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the great man.

Miles Davis was a legendary jazz trumpeter, and an icon for Jazz music.

In his life, Miles had a great impact on a lot of things. He’s often called the father of fusion. Not many people know this about Miles Davis, but he was a huge influence on Hendrix who was influenced by him.

I feel the rhythm of the music, the harmony of the composition and the rhythm of the dance, and the beat of the beat of the drum.
I’m here to play, I’m here to feel, I’m here to love,
I’m everywhere.

42 Miles Davis Quotes

Mistakes only happen because we fear failure, and we’ve invested so much time and energy into them, they seem inevitable.

Just like we need to be patient and be able to practice and get feedback to improve our own technique, the same applies to playing the instrument. This is not a short-cut, just like having the patience to practice scales is not a short-cut to becoming knowledgeable about playing scales. If you want to become a professional, you have to be a good student.

Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there. If something’s not there, just make it up. You can always play what’s not there.

If you understand everything I say, you’ll be like me!

I have a style I like to be in and music that I enjoy.

A lot of people are concerned about the future. They wish to do or be something when they were younger but their life hasn’t worked out the way they hoped.

“A legend is known for what you used to do rather than for what you are doing now”.

I’ll play it for you and when I’ve played it you’ll tell me what its name is.

9th of 42 Miles Davis Quotes

People judge jazz artists based on their idea of what jazz should be and not on whether or not they have ideas.

Change is constant. You can not remain the same person at all times. We should stay up to date with the changes that will affect us. We have to be ready to innovate and adapt to new challenges.

I heard a quote once that said: “Music is the language between people who have ears to hear.” I think that explains what happens with me. Without music, I would just be like everyone else.

The more successful you are the more mistakes you can make. The more mistakes you make the more likely people are to mistake you for successful.

I never thought that jazz was just for museum pieces, like other dead things once considered artistic. Jazz has lasted for generations. It will continue to persist through the ages. It’s never going to die.

I’ve been playing for a long time, I’m already playing at a high level, I just need to build on that.

Music is a form of art. It is good to have different forms of art to experience. So, even if someone is not into music, it can be a good avenue of artistic expression.

 It would be more accurate to say that music is just as significant as silence. Music is defined as that which creates a sound and silence is defined as that which doesn’t.

Playing a musical instrument requires an attitude. You can’t just plonk it down and start playing it.

You’re not playing music for the notes. You’re playing music for the feeling in the notes. There are no rules to that. You just gotta find the one thing pretty.

You should try to make your music as great as possible. Don’t ever think it’s too late to learn something new. It’s never too late to start a band or make your own music. Even if your music sucks, you still have to put out an album.

20th of 42 Miles Davis Quotes

We can’t make mistakes in improv. Once you make a mistake, you become a slave.

If you aren’t nervous when you’re performing, you’re probably not paying attention.

I have been at a loss for words for days now, as my best friend is at the hospital and I haven’t talked to anyone. I have been crying for the past three days straight, with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. I feel as if I am at the end of my tether and I keep asking myself, “How far is the journey from here to a star?”.

Jazz shouldn’t be compared to blues but rather to the soul with a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll.

In this day and age, there are a lot of people who think that just because something is a certain way, it’s the best way to play. My approach has always been to try to play what I’ve listened to and not think too hard about it. I’ll listen to other music because I like it, but with music that I know, there is no need to overthink it. If you can just play what you like, music can be fun and you do not need to give a damn about what people say.

Miles Davis was saying that categories of music genres are not helpful in judging music, and that all music had equal value.

27th of 42 Miles Davis Quotes

The only thing that I ever know for sure is that knowledge is the only thing that will free you. You can never liberate yourself with ignorance. You don’t have to be a free person to not be ignorant.

The best of a great player, the genius of musicianship, the soul of a musician, is a thing I can’t describe in words. No one, not even people with a similar musical background, can compare to a great musician. The ability to make the best out of nothing is the key to good music.

While Miles’ musical style evolved over time, he never lost touch with his roots.

So many people want to be Miles Davis! Miles really wanted to be a trumpet player more than anything else, and he picked up a lot of things from people he liked. He was influenced by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cootie Williams, Buddy Rich, Wes Montgomery, and of course, his father!

If you are addicted to music, you are probably a giver.

You have heard it from the lips of musicians, but have you ever listened to your own inner voice?
It is there, listening, and it is telling you who you are, but you have to be awake to hear it.

People like to say that a person takes on the attributes of the people they spend time with. In this case, we have a very talented musician with a personality that reflects the quality music he makes.

To put it simply, learn how to make music you can’t possibly hear. For instance, the guitar player is probably playing a completely different sounding song when he listens to himself perform, than when he plays without headphones or listens in a different room to those who can’t hear him.

35th of 42 Miles Davis Quotes

Do not fear mistakes – only the fear of making mistakes can hold you back.

This is a great quote to live by. Whether you are a leader or a team player, you can get into your best mindset by finding something you enjoy and becoming good at it.

This comes from an interview with Miles Davis, an interview in which Miles was asked how he gets his ideas. He responds by saying “when you’re creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain’t the limit”. He says it so eloquently because when you’re creating your own shit you’re creating something out of nothing. Something that wasn’t even there before.

Playing jazz requires dedication, commitment, and consistency. It requires you to practice hard and focus.

The words of great business leaders are often times very short. They may be only one or two words with so many words of wisdom packed into the simple statement.

The more I play, the more I realize that there are no rules. I just have to play what I feel.

Style is what makes everything work. You can be talented but boring. Or you can be awesome but lack the style to make it work. Both of these things are not desirable.

If you sacrifice your art to someone, that someone becomes so important it might be hard to be trusted.

Now that we have the tools to make a more-focused paraphrase, let’s use our newfound linguistic abilities to paraphrase the passage we mentioned above.


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