Cornelius Cardew’s Virtues for a Musician

Found this on the old blog, thought it would be worth sharing again.

As per Cornelius Cardew, here are essential qualities for a musician to develop – especially an improvising musician, especially a musician who improves “freely:”

  1. Simplicity – Where everything becomes simple is the most desirable place to be.
  2. Integrity – What we do in the actual event is important -not only what we have in mind.
  3. Selflessnesss – To do something constructive you have to look beyond yourself.
  4. Forbearance – Improvising in a group you have to accept not only the frailties of your fellow musicians, but also your own.
  5. Preparedness – for no matter what eventuality (Cage’s phrase) or simply Awakeness.
  6. Identification with Nature – … like a yachtsman to utilize the interplay of natural forces and currents to steer a course.
  7. Acceptance of Death – From a certain point of view improvisation is the highest mode of musical activity, for it is based on the acceptance of music’s fatal weakness and essential and most beautiful characteristic -its transience.

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