Message text written by INTERNET:Loopers-Delightemail@example.com >I don't think technique is a trap within itself or a trade off from creativity. I know what you mean by relying on stock licks or riffs being a trap, but I believe to express yourself as a musician you need to practice technique and develop skill. Only when you have mastered your instrument can you play from your inspiration.< I'm going to *completely* disagree with you here... I think this varies person by person. I look back to the music I wrote (& recorded on first album) way back when I first picked up the guitar and made a variety of very intentional efforts NOT to learn it in the *established* manner -- which I found in other instruments I had learned to be VERY confining. I was listening to a lot of Indian classical music at the time, and thus had a much different approach to tuning and technique, which resulted in some compositions which, although possibly naive, had a kind of purity and creativity to them that I *cannot* regain. Over the last however many years I have become a much better guitar player, but my compositions particularly for acoustic guitar have as a result become more and more conventional to my ears. Sometimes I yearn for the days when I knew virtually *nothing* about the guitar and randomly abused the instrument to make beautiful noise. This is just *my* experience. I don't want us to get into some kind of useless "technique vs. creativity" argument (which in of itself is the wrong conceptualization of the issue), particularly since we all lie at different points along that continuum. jj P.S. Hey, all of you, please accept my warmest thanks for your thoughts on all of these issues. I personally love to philosophize anyway, but especially when it's a topic that's either close to my heart or is troubling me in some way. Your thoughts have been both helpful and inspirational. I feel like I'm "home". Hugs to you all.