Sunday, August 08, 2010

Death by competence

If we improvise with an instrument, tool, or idea that we know well, we have the solid technique for expressing ourselves. But the technique can get too solid -- we can become so used to knowing how it should be done that we become distanced from the freshness of today's situation. This is the danger that inheres in the very competence that we acquire in practice. Competence that loses a sense of its roots in the playful spirit becomes ensconced in rigid forms of professionalism.

--Stephen Nachmanovitch

The worst possible outcome, in my humble opinion.

[Photo credit: SashaW]


David said...

Great find, thanks for sharing that. It is a tenuous balance between spontaneity and technique, for sure.

cinderkeys said...

Reminds me of a story Yo-Yo Ma tells. He'd decided that he wanted to learn some hideously difficult piece, and he wanted to be able to play it PERFECTLY. So he practiced it diligently for a long time. But when he finally played it in front of an audience, in the middle of his flawless performance, he realized he could walk off the stage and he wouldn't care. He was bored.

That's when he decided that expression was more important than perfection.

Andrew Durkin... said...

I forgot to link the book. Here it is.

Great Yo-Yo Ma story!

Thanks for the comments.