It is a privilege to be given attention to express/communicate/show whatever one wants to. There are always constraints, of course, but that is basically what is happening. What do I do with this time and space that I’m given? What do I feel is worth addressing or what deserves attention? When we are free to choose, we are also automatically responsible for our choice. Even not choosing, when done freely, is a choice, and we are responsible for it. What is it that I’m contributing? What am I bringing into existence?
Research is an important part of creating a piece. It will give the artist knowledge of the associations and implications of different aspects of the piece and will inform their choices in the creation process. Research is about opening possibilities. Creation is about choosing from these possibilities. At some point there has to be a transition from one stage of the work to the another. What do we need to know to do what we want to do? How much is enough? When are we ready to go into action?
Responding is not the same as reacting. Reacting is a reflex action, which addresses the general nature of the situation. Responding implies choice and specificity. This is a relevant difference for real-time composition. Spontaneity is often understood as following the first impulse, something that is generally valued in improvisation. However, if there is the intention of composing something, following the first impulse reduces the possibilities. Allowing the space to really receive the stimulus generates the conditions for a response rather than a reaction. This might at first take noticeably longer, but the more we practice being porous to receiving, the faster we get and the nimbler we become at responding and exercising choice.