Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Very occasional quote of the day: the abilities you have at the moment

Hey, that looks like I can do it. WHY
From The Art Spirit, by Robert Henri:

An art student must be a master from the beginning; that is, he must be master of such as he has. By being a master of such as he has there is promise that he will be master in the future. 

The writing style is a little dated— Henri was a painter active about 100 years ago— but he's saying something important: you have to create with whatever abilities you have at the moment, and you have to do that from the beginning. You don't learn a laundry list of skills— which gets longer every year— and then start being a creative artist. You can do real playing at virtually all levels of technical skill.

So you can't just be into amazing, mind-blowing stuff; you also have to like music scaled to your present ability— things that sound like you can play them now: basic rock, pop, Motown, country, some free jazz, maybe very time-oriented bebop. All those things require a lot of skill to actually do well, but they're simple enough to give you an entry point, so you at least think you're able to do them well, and you can do them confidence, and maybe some creativity.

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