Words of Wisdom from Chick Corea


Personal Policies as a Musician

Excerpt from A Work In Progress … On Being a Musican by Chick Corea
© 2002, 2014 Chick Corea Productions, Inc.


These are the principles and policies I try to live by as a musician. I list these particular ones because I’ve observed that when I apply them, things go well, and when I don’t things don’t go so well.

  1. I spend as much time and effort as is needed to get the musical product being envisioned, no matter what the barriers or the inconvenience. I don’t stop until I’ve got it.
  2. Though I may become interested in the viewpoints and opinions of others regarding my music, I always rely on my own viewpoint, tastes and judgment to determine how I should present myself, what I should create and how I should communicate.
  3. I never compromise with the music I’ve decided I want to make or the communication I really want to deliver.
  4. I consider others’ opinions of my music as a kind of survey and use this as “secondary” information to help me better understand my audience and their responses.
  5. I never blame the audience or make them wrong for their response to my music and my performance. I grant them the right to be how they want to be and respond how they want to respond as an audience.
  6. At the same time, I never compromise with the message I want to deliver to an audience and always grant myself the right to deliver it the way I see it. I try to work out how I can better reach audiences without altering my basic musical intent.
  7. I’ve observed that what is enjoyable music to one person may not be enjoyable music to another. I use this understanding to deal with the infinite variety of people’s artistic opinions and tastes.
  8. I ensure that the audience’s applause and praise of any one performance doesn’t invite me to slacken off the preparation or delivery of the next performance.
  9. I evaluate all musical performance based first on the quality of its effect on the listener (myself and others) and secondarily, and much less importantly, on the techniques used.

A Work In Progress … On Being a Musician by Chick Corea

Page 6

  1. I always use the highest level of ethics and honesty in dealing with the people with whom I work in the music business and the management of music, realizing that performances of music just don’t happen without being organized and managed into existence with the competence and sincerity of these good managers.
  2. I try to make agreements (whether with other musicians or music business administrators and managers) that result in myself and the other person happy with what we agreed to.
  3. I try to apply the level of quality and care I give to my music to all other aspects of my life.
  4. If there’s a doubt about how to deal with other musicians or businesspeople, I stop and consider how I would like to be dealt with if I were in their position, and deal with them that way.
  5. When playing with other musicians, I attempt to always do things that complement and enhance their playing.
  6. When working with other musicians, I always try to find and make good use of their musical and performance strengths.
  7. I try to keep my instruments, recording equipment, and other music tools in good repair and in good order. I make a place for each thing and put things back in their place after I’m through using them or finished with that particular project.
  8. In fulfilling a commitment, whether a concert performance, a composition, or an interview with the press, I try to give even more than was expected.
  9. I never forget those that helped me along the way – musically and otherwise – because I feel that no success I’ve ever had was accomplished without teamwork, help and support from others.
  10. I try to take good care of my physical health – getting good nutrition and enough sleep so that I can be at my best.

Chick Corea 6 June 88 (revised 2 Aug. 93) (again on 8 Mar. 98) (and again 10 May 13, adding 19) to the list)

A Work In Progress … On Being a Musician by Chick Corea

Page 7



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