I had a conversation with Dai at a concert last week about art, self-expression and control. There is some conventional thinking about what artists (or in my context, composers) 'say', and how it relates to their technique. "what it says is said through the technique" is the conventional wisdom. Further, "develop technique and you develop your voice". But we then get technically impressive, but fundamentally 'empty' works - all very clever, but what does it mean? what does it say?
Then there is the complexity of actually 'getting the notes down'. Improvisation here is slightly less problematic (although there's lots of technique there too).
The problem is that when people talk about 'technique', their conception may be overly analytical: just getting the notes down is not the whole of technique, or just thinking about the notes is not the whole of technique. Technique is also managing your routine, your equipment (paper, computer, etc), your emotions, your social engagement, etc, etc. Master all this and you will find your voice.
But what is the mastery of? (and this is where my conversation with Dai took off). What is its purpose? To make art? no - I think - that is the by-product. It is the struggle for control forced on the artist because they are perturbed by things that those who aren't artists aren't.