Your music is who you are.

When I say that, I don’t mean that your life depends on your music, or that music is all that matters in your life. What I mean is that you can always tell who a person is through his or her music. When you hear an improviser or composer who demonstrates a great deal of self indulgence, overpowering those around him with busy improvisation or writing difficult and pretentious music that serves to impress rather than to express, that says something important about the person creating the music.

If a person is able to write beautiful, tender music, or be sensitive to the musicians he is playing with, this demonstrates a certain legitimate part of the person’s personality. Of course, you might think there are exceptions. For example, what if a person who acts arrogant and selfish on the outside writes gorgeous, tender music? Either way, I personally believe that the music is expressing a part of that person that is not always seen.

Some people are completely incapable of writing beautiful music. Some people are completely incapable of writing exciting music. Sometimes, if you go to a jazz club in New York City and listen carefully to a musician, you can tell all you need to know about his or her personality. If the player is self-indulgent, playing lots of notes while not listening to the other musicians, chances are that this will show through in his personality. That person won’t really listen to you either if you talk to him. And that’s why I think your music is who you are. It is a direct channel of your personality.

What do you think? Is music “who you are,” or are there exceptions to the rule? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or by clicking the little comment bubble at the top right of the post.