Monday, May 28, 2012

Question Everything: Being "good"

What does it mean to be "good"?

Say you're performing and your solo is off.  It's a little ahead of the beat, your rhythms don't quite make sense as a whole, and maybe even what you're playing doesn't mesh well with the ji of the song.  But you really sell it, with confidence and spirit, and the audience loves it.  Is that a good solo or not?  What if all your solos are like that - technically lacking but crowd-pleasers.  Does that make you a good taiko player or not?

Or maybe it's the other way around, and you have amazing hands and/or a highly-developed sense of rhythm.  You can pop out 32nd notes like no one's business, you can weave in and out of the downbeat in complex patterns, etc.  Only it's so dense and so hard to digest that the audience doesn't "get it".  Is that a good solo?  And if the audience never gets your solos but you're technically spot-on, are you a good taiko player?

What if you're technically proficient and "digestable" to the audience, but no one remembers you?  In other words, you blend into the whole because you don't have any outstanding skills that stand out.  Can you still be a good player?

And then there's the question of "does it matter?"  To whom, you?  Your teachers?  Your group?  The audience?

"Good" is pretty relative when it comes down to it.  Sometimes it's only your opinion that matters, but sometimes it's not.  Just like how you may arbitrarily view something as good or not, someone can view you in the same way.

If being "good" doesn't matter to you so much, then you're probably finding enough joy in just doing the art you love.  If it does matter, well then...keep practicing!

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