Music has always been learnt from music. It’s natural and certainly productive to learn the rules and dynamics of this language by playing, having fun as we study the notes we love best, improving our taste and technique on the instrument. All musicians including the greatest ones have done so and have reaped the benefits in every way. Nevertheless, at a certain point along the path of their training, a propitious evolution took place at a different time and in a different way for each individual. This evolution allowed the whole world to listen to and savour a new kind of music that was unique and unrepeatable because their language had with time become new, unique and unrepeatable. This process is the natural individual progression that allows music (and indeed every form of art) to evolve. Through the contemplation and study of the past, each artist seeks out their own voice in the present and offers up something new for the future. Paying homage to a work of art with your own personal reworking of it is a fairly normal and indeed highly praiseworthy thing to do while you are building up your career. Arranging music is not so different from composing it. But if playing and interpreting only and exclusively the music of other artists comes to be your main objective then any form of research becomes unproductive. The result is creative sterility and collective emotional stalemate – a kind of bad-smelling artistic swamp. A musician’s greatest ambition should be their self-expression through playing and interpreting their own music. It is here that the seed for new lifeblood is hiding. A world of covers and tribute bands is unable to evolve. That’s a fact. It can mean nothing but a pause in the development of musical language – a long and dangerous pause. Why not use your talent to further your own dreams? Or let me put it another way – why choke your dreams until they become parched and there’s nothing left but a sterile carcass? Why strive to be the shadow or the ghost of someone else? Of course, if your naïve imitation is just fueled by fun and a sense of amusement then it’s not really a problem. All things considered, it only becomes serious when the majority of music’s children – not to say almost all of them – give in entirely to the old. This cramps any space for the new and those rare and magnificent things that exist in each one of us. The most dangerous deception for those who give up investing in their own potential is the conviction that only great artists are able to compose. Needless to say, I can’t believe this. I’m not talking about necessarily creating works of art that will go down in history. Rather, I’m referring to simply taking action to breathe new life into that ferment where anything new can become sublime, however unlikely it may seem. The goal is not about coming first in terms of compositional quality; music isn’t a racing competition. It’s about taking part in the game in order to nurture your own uniqueness, with your own sensibility, as only you can. And so these lines form my passionate and powerful if impudent cry – that’s enough of tributes for others! Let’s make a tribute to ourselves and our art! It’s about time!