As the teaching semester settles in for another year (I’ve been teaching since 1998) and the students find their groove and creativity, it doesn’t take long for a student to tell me that they want to do something different to what has been done before.
I have no problem with this, but I think it’s important to make one understand that “being different is the one thing we all have in common”. So, once they understand this they feel liberated but the real answer to it is that we need to be ‘good’ so that your differences come out and shine.
While this is all positive stuff and we think to ourselves what “different” things we like compared to our peers so that we can bring out our differences more. In the process we might miss the mark of what the core of this statement might mean.
I think the best way to explain this is to look at the use of language. We all use the same words not always in the same way but we use them to communicate with each other. Our thoughts may or may not be different but we don’t try to mix out words up so differently that we cannot communicate with each other.
I know I have brought this up in older posts but after doing a bunch of rehearsals and a couple of gigs with a really great local jazz orchestra I get the sense that people still want to be better than other people.
Instead of being themselves they want to be better than someone else or feel pressured to play in a way that people may think “wow, gee aren’t they incredible”. This approach to life and music in particular jazz in counterproductive and doesn’t actually achieve anything.
We need to lose our ego and just play. It’s easy to say and I have definitely got caught up in the ego way of playing but I have also experienced playing with no ego and it has a much more positive affect on people.