There’s not many recipes or rules that I’d call useful in art, and thus in art education. But in the creative field of music, I do think one can’t go wrong by going by this one: Don’t copy. Create.
This sounds obvious, of course. But anyone working in this field knows that there is quite a bit of copying going on. And some do seem to get away with it. But in the end, everyone knows who was first. And working with ideas is what we do for a living in the arts.
I do get competitive when it comes to firsts and discovery, as I do think it counts to be able to create, to choose, to develop. And I also appreciate firsts from other artists: it makes me happy to see how someone carves out their very own path. In working with students, I always encourage them to trust their own choices. My teachers did exactly that for me, and their support to pursue whatever ideas I felt needed to be pursued carried me a long way. In learning what has been done before and what is being done now, in knowing about possibility, influences, heritage, in imitating as a means to fully absorb a certain approach, one can circle in on what is to follow for oneself. And this can mean so many things (styles, directions) for different musicians. This work is thrilling and fulfilling for me, both as an artist and working in music education.
My main inspiration outside of music has always been dance. Maybe it’s because during my long years in Holland, I was exposed to some groundbreaking choreographers in modern dance. And may be it’s just because I love movement in space. Or because I love to dance. In any case, seeing Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s work at Opéra national de Paris sure was inspiring. If you only have one minute, check out this trailer. If you have more time, there’s this arte film documenting it.