From Lists of Note, the Monk’s list of advice, mostly for musicians and playing live, but most of these could be extrapolated for any situation and living life itself.
This is my own transcription, there’s one on the site but it’s all caps and I read some of it differently. I don’t think he MEANT it all in caps, it was just an easy way to print. Also, he underlines many words for emphasis.
I especially like the last one. I wonder who “they” were?
Monk’s Advice (1966)
Just because you’re not a _drummer_, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to _keep time_.
Pat your foot + sing the melody in your head when you play.
Stop playing all those wierd [sic] notes, play the _melody_!
Make the drummer sound _good_.
Discrimination is important.
You’ve got to dig it to _dig_ it, you dig?
Always know… (monk V)
It must be always _night_, otherwise they wouldn’t need the _lights_.
Let’s _lift the bandstand_!!
Avoid the _hecklers_.
Don’t play the _piano part_, I’m playing that. Don’t listen to _me_, I’m supposed to be accompanying _you_!
The _inside_ of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the _outside_ sound good.
Don’t play _everything_ (or everytime); let some things _go by_. Some music [is] just _imagined_. What you _don’t_ play can be more important than what you _do_ play.
A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your _imagination_.
Stay in _shape_! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig, + when it comes, he’s out of shape + can’t make it.
When you’re _swinging_, wing some _more_!
(what should we wear tonight?) _Sharp as possible_!
Always leave them wanting _more_.
Don’t sound _anybody_ for a gig, just be _on the scene_. Those pieces were written so as to have something to play, + to get cats _interested_ enough to come to _rehearsal_.
You’ve got it! If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, _you got it_! (to a drummer who didn’t want to solo).
Whatever you think _can’t_ be done, somebody will come along + _do it_. A genius is the one who is _most like himself_.
They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along + spoil it.