“Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.”

Oliver Sacks


In the black and white world of notes on a page, it’s easy to think our music as separate from ourselves. It seems like music doesn’t come from us, but is something our fingers do.

And indeed, it does start out that way.

In a similar fashion, a new vocabulary word is at first foreign and hazy. Then in time it clears, and eventually emerges effortlessly from our mouths as part of a new thought. It gains meaning and relevance. It joins all our other words, cross-pollinates, and becomes a tool of creation in our tapestry of language.

Notes on the page, like vocabulary words, are only the beginning. They are a tool, a set of ingredients, a script.

To make music, we must certainly master the notes. But if we stop there, we miss out on the best parts.

When we read a good story, we don’t see words on a page – we see worlds inside our heads. We feel emotions. We live other lives. We become other people in other times. Reading is an act of imagination, using the words on the page as a catalyst.

Our music can be the same way. With practice and curiosity, the notes disappear and playing guitar becomes an act of creation.

Actors and orators hone their story-telling skills and diction. As musicians we hone our technique and phrasing. We work on the surface in service to the depths below.


“Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.”

Oliver Sacks