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Carlo Mertens's vision of music consists of honesty and respect.
And the three T's.

Honesty and Respect in music


…are terms that are easier said than lived by.

Being honest means always trying to be sincere when making music by being fully prepared and open to everything that happens around you. You never play alone. Even if you are sitting in your study at home, you are still subject to the acoustics of the room and you can learn a lot from that. Carlo assumes that every space has its own "soul". If you listen carefully, you can respond to this. Of course, this also applies to any form of musical teamwork.

It doesn't matter whether you are playing jazz, pop or classical: you should always listen to what is happening around you and treat that respectfully.


The differences between classical, jazz and pop are similar to the differences between languages (dialects). You want to say the same thing, but pronounce it differently.

It is perfectly possible to speak all these different languages, if you start studying and listening to them in time and particularly if you listen to all the details.

The three T's


As far as Carlo is concerned, everything that is important in (making) music can be reduced to these three points these three T's:


  • T van Toon : of Tone : without tone you have no identity. Your tone is your musical signature.

  • T van Timing : of Timing: Timing is essential. This applies to classical music as well as to pop and jazz. Without timing playing together with others is impossible. Timing is "pulse" like your heart. Without a pulse we become silent and our music is dead.

  • T of Tuning : tuning or intonation is indispensable to create a harmonic image of the music together. Each note has its own series of overtones. That is an accumulation of notes that sound along when you play one specific note. Depending on the pitch and/or the instrument, the mutual relationships in this series change. If you do not play perfectly in tune, the listener will get a weird feeling. This is because then the harmony between the different voices is no longer right. (This only applies to Western music, in Eastern music we have different tunings that make certain notes sound “off” to us while they sound just right to them.)

There is a fourth T, the T of technique. Of course technique is extremely important in music, but not primarily so for Carlo. Technique is too often seen as a sport, which means that the musical aspect is sometimes overlooked. This does not alter the fact that technique does take up a large part of the study program.

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