Tools Vs. Talent

I recently found a specialty hardware store where you can buy a $160 hand shovel. It has everything: detachable handle, twistable leverage builders, and diamond-crusted plating on the tip for better cutting. And for all the bling and amazing design, it moves dirt around only marginally better than a dollar store hand trowel. 


I find it amazing how those of us in the music industry are obsessed with the tool instead of the talent it takes to use it correctly. Show up with a Casio $100 keyboard to a gig? You’ll probably get written off as an amateur. I own a $4,100 fire-engine red keyboard, and I get more compliments about it than I do my playing. 


The assumption that you'll only do great work with great tools is fundamentally wrong. A great tool should be a compliment to talent, not a substitute. Too often, us musicians fool ourselves into thinking that the latest piece of equipment is going to make up for our lack of talent, experience, and hard work. In reality, even the best technology only amplifies what we already can do. 


Anybody can buy a tool. A few special people can make magic happen with it.