Monday, September 30, 2013

More technique

This is one of the more memorable quotes from the pianist Kenny Werner's book Effortless Mastery— I think a lot of people noticed it, and fully embraced it:

Once after playing a concert an interviewer asked me, “If you could add anything to your playing, what would it be?” Without hesitation I answered,  “More technique.” He looked at me strangely because I had shown a lot of different skills in this performance, and that didn't seem to be my most pressing need. Also, it was not the most politically correct answer. He asked why, and I replied “Because I love to let the great spirit manifest through me. She only gets stuck when I go for something that's not there technically. That distracts me from the bliss I am receiving.”

I don't disagree with it, but in light of the current wave of obsession with pure technical prowess, maybe we should throw this into the mix, from William S. Burroughs:

I am frequently asked, “What would you do if you were President? What would you do if you were the dictator of America? What would you do if you had a billion dollars?” In the words of my friend the late Ahmed Jacoubi, “This question is not personal opinion.” A prior question must be asked: “How did you get to be the President, a dictator, a billionaire?” The answers to these questions will condition what you will do. For one is not magically teleported into these positions; one gets there by a series of discrete steps, each step hedged with conditions and prices.

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