Thursday, October 17, 2013


When is copying someone or something good?  When is it bad?

When you start playing taiko, it's really good to have someone to copy, in the sense that you are trying to learn how to "be" by replicating their motions and sensibilities.  But after a time, if you continue to copy someone, you're not getting better as an artist, you're only getting better at copying.

Some might say if you are copying someone truly great, then you are learning how to be truly great as well.  To me, it's good to continue to learn from someone truly great, but to copy them for too long stifles the potential someone might have.  On top of that, you can only copy someone as much as you are like them - physically, mentally, background, etc.  If you spend too much time trying to copy someone that's too dissimilar to you, you'll be spending a lot of time compensating when you could be improving.

Another type of copying is taking someone's "moves" in your solo.  If someone in your group has a signature move or moves they do during any given solo, and you do that same move during yours, this can be good...or really bad.  If your group is ok with that sort of thing, or the other player is, that's great.  Otherwise, you're asking for a lot of trouble!  It can be a way to try new moves you wouldn't normally do, but it also means you're not exercising your creative muscles!  Be careful of taking moves you see from other taiko players/groups, unless you would feel comfortable talking to them in person about what you did...

Finally (at least for this post), there's copying another group's songs, which is a really big subject to delve into and so I'll stay brief.  Copying another song that's not open source without permission is just plain wrong.  Copying with permission is fine, but like the above, each song you copy means less opportunity to flex your creative muscle.  Too many songs like that, and you stunt the growth of the group!  On the flip side, you might find that copying a song in this way gives spark to a different ideas and ways of thinking/composing within your group that you normally would not have come to.

So to copy or not to copy?  I don't have the answers, so all I can say to you is think before you copy!

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