“Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all that bullshit and just play.” – Charlie “Yardbird” Parker
This is one of my favourite quotes about creativity, mastery, and expression. It’s great because it succinctly captures an important nuance—that the final expression of any mastery involves a delicate balance between preparedness, surrender, and commitment. Good things happen when you just let go.
This doesn’t just apply to music. It applies to any creative endeavour—design, code, business, writing, art—you name it. Whatever your field, you can prepare all you want, but if you’re attached to your eventual performance going perfectly according to plan, you’re going to be disappointed.
The truth is that it won’t, and that’s fine. That’s completely normal, and it helps to remember that anyone who has ever achieved anything great has faced the exact same truth. Change is constant, and you’ll always be rolling with the punches to some extent. You should embrace this, and make it as integral to your performance as your instrument and your music.
So, next time you’re worrying about your next project, design, presentation, or performance, stop and focus your attention on this idea. Be confident in the instruments you use to produce your work. Trust in your knowledge of the subject matter involved. Then, let go, and just play.