There is an interesting teaching from the Psalms about inspir-ation. The language in the superscription to the Psalms: sometimes le-David mizmor, signifies To David a song, and sometimes mizmor le-David, a song to David.
With le-David mizmor, the Shekhinah – the inner Presence, inspiration — rested upon him and then he uttered the song. First we encounter David, the person, the performer, the artist, he does his preparation and with enough preparation, the art happens. Personhood precedes Inspiration.
With the language mizmor le-David, a song to David, the music, the art the work precedes, then there is inspiration. The work brings Inspiration. You begin with the work, not the personality; it is always all about the work, the art.
With David, the sweet singer of Israel, he lifted up his voice in song first, then the Shekhinah descended upon him afterwards. He played himself sang himself worked himself into the place of Inspiration.
There’s more: We are taught the Shekhinah rests upon a person when there is joy, as it is said:
but now bring me a minstrel.
And it came to pass, when the minstrel played,
the hand of God came upon him.
2 Kings 3:15, Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 117a.
Blue always quoted this teaching before he began to play. He hugged his instrument to his chest, closed his eyes, and began to play. He played until the Shekhinah, Inspiration, came and settled within him.
“This is how you might play without inspiration,” said Blue, “but for me, never longer than twenty minutes.”