One of the most striking things Morton Feldman said when I worked with him briefly in 1975 was, “In the ’60s, my students were all using a tempo marking of quarter-note = 60. Now my students are all using 72.” That was a revelation to me: that even something as neutral as a tempo marking might be a cliché, a learned behavior, an unconscious imitation, a hint of groupthink. Ever since then, for 35 years, every time I’ve put down a tempo marking, I’ve thought, is this really the tempo I want? Did I see another piece with this tempo lately? Am I using 104 because it’s on the metronome, when I really want 103? Feldman taught me to question whether I was using even the most quotidian devices out of reflex, or whether I was really conceiving the piece as a unique whole.