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Suppressing self-expression is really hard. This makes suppressing originality really hard, too. I mean, you can do it, but only up to a certain point.


This is good news! You don’t have to work to be original! You just have to work to learn about music if that’s where you want to be original.


Constructing ourselves

We construct ourselves out of our experience of living in a particular culture.We do this by making decisions about how we’re going to act based on what we experience. These decisions express who we are in the world differently than anyone else.


We see it on the street in the way people dress, how they cut their hair, their hand gestures. We see it in songwriting in the way people put chords and words together.Why can people still use the 12 bar blues progression and get away with it? Because they bring themselves to it. Whatever that is, it’s expressed in the choices they make while they’re playing or writing.


Originality isn’t an issue. Stretching yourself is. Go ahead and steal other people’s music.Anybody who’s ever played to blues is doing exactly that. The challenge is to take what you steal apart and put it back together in an interesting way.


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