About the book

To me it’s about just one thing: individuality
Take that as the departure point for the development of your musicianship. Who wouldn’t want that? Despite this we’re constantly enticed to imitate, to follow or to clone. But in fact learning takes place from the inside out. Although it’s often approached differently, the movement begins with the learner.

Let you inner motivation be the engine of your development. Let every exercise be in service of this. That, in a nutshell, is the message of this book.

“Tips die ervoor zorgen dat je eigenwaarde vergroot”
muziekwereld, Imke van Herk.  recensies

Follow your heart, and carry others along with you
It’s strange that in improvised music so much emphasis is placed on searching for a firm footing: knowledge and the beaten path. There’s nothing wrong with knowledge of course, but the secret is to take a leap! From the high board, to be precise. And oddly enough not much has been written about this. How do you develop the creative impulse within you in your own a personal language that does justice to your talent? That’s exactly what I want to help you to achieve: Play Yourself!

Ordering information

You can order Play Yourself for €19.90 excluding postage (€3.32 in the Netherlands). Please state your address with your order, and I’ll send the book to you straight away with an invoice. So you don’t have to pay in advance. You can also buy the book from bol.com or a bookstore. ISBN 9789461550439


NB: The English edition of Play Yourself is in preparation. Email me if you’d like to be kept informed.


As young children we learn spontaneously. Because there’s nothing we like better. And in fact that’s still the case, only we’ve often lost the ability to follow our instincts. Passivity, listening and following convention, that’s how we think we have to learn. I want to let you know that you can give your learning process a more playful form. Because developing yourself is not only an inner need, but also a lot of fun.

It’s more enjoyable to learn from a beautiful book!
The drawings by artist Birgitta Schwansee form their own musical calligraphy that goes much further than mere illustration of the text. Her designs are in intimate unity with the content and touch on music and dance, so the book breathes an ambience of lightness and freedom.

about Birgitta Schwansee

“Ik wil het boek in mijn buurt hebben liggen. Voor de vorm, voor de inhoud. Voor het oefenen, voor het proberen, voor het spel.”
Pauline Beran


“Een inspirerend en tevens heel praktisch boek … niet ingewikkeld en verrassend doeltreffend, ongeacht het instrument dat je speelt. De prachtige illustraties van Brigitta Schwansee completeren het geheel. Uitstekende publicatie voor muzikanten en musici.
BND Biblion
Carol Tummers



It all began with an inspiration. A few weeks before the start of my workshop week in northern France it suddenly came to me: ‘I’ll work with a learning objective’. No more than that. A learning objective is a principle from the Pulsar training programme that I’ve followed, and is all about taking ownership of your learning. By formulating what you’d most like to learn you enhance the gain: it comes to you, as it were, because you’ve expressed what you want to learn. Everything that happens is then subservient to this, and turns out to encompass learning moments.

It was totally new for me to apply this principle in a music workshop. Scary in fact! Because ‘of course that’s not what they’ve come for’: that was my fear. But the opposite turned out to be the case. By opening the week with a moment of reflection on what you’d most like to learn the participants were energised, and that made this workshop week more productive than any I’d done up to now. It immediately became a sort of learning objective for myself, which I can work on for many years.

Once I was home again I thought it would be a good idea to write up the lessons of that week for the participants, on learning objectives and individuality, so they could look back at them again. But once I started to write I just couldn’t stop. All kinds of lessons that I’d ever given turned out to fit in with these concepts, and I soon decided to write a book about them. I didn’t have to think long about the title: it wrote itself.

Example pages

click for larger image