“Any technique, however worthy or desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.”
– Bruce Lee
Within the realm of music, obsession can manifest as a kind of monotonous repetition of our most valued techniques and phrases. This solidification of expression into ‘Styles’ seems capable of developing technical proficiency within a limited scope at the grand expense of stunting innovation and improvisational expression.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein
Obsession by definition tends to lead down very fixed paths of habit. The stronger our connection to a particular technique, the more we place a veil over newer possibilities. Consider this; which is better? – Chirps or 2 click orbits? Crescent Flares or autobahns? Chairs or tables?
Valuing one technique above others seems to be a crucial early stage in the path to technique mastery, but this approach when overemployed can also greatly disrupt our growth potential. Over rehearse one area and you under rehearse others. Given time, our skewed over valuation of a particular technical area can create a sort of musical tourettes, in which the impulse to repeat old patterns is far stronger than the will to explore new ground or develop the underpracticed.
“It is the way of heaven to show no favouritism.”
– Lao Tzu, Chapter 79 Tao Te Ching
Conciously identify overly used patterns during practice.
Weaken prominent patterns with intentional underuse.
Develop and integrate less rehearsed fringe patterns with existing vocabulary.