Do you believe that becoming a creative musician is a matter of being born naturally talented? That is what I used to think. When I was a young guitarist, negative beliefs like this nearly destroyed my dream of becoming a great musician.
Once I finally discovered how to be creative and taught my own guitar students to develop this ability, I identified the specific reasons why the vast majority of guitar players have a hard time with this skill. Good news is: anyone (including yourself) can learn to develop creativity by using the proven methods and strategies for reaching this goal.
1. You keep “waiting” for inspiration instead of building a strong and steady stream of creative ideas.
2. You don’t understand the musical language. Imagine yourself in a foreign country where you don’t know its language. Even though you may have a lot to say, you will not be able to communicate anything unless you can speak the right language. The same applies in music. You may have lots of ideas coming into your mind, but if you can’t express them (through the musical “language”)... it’s like they never existed. Discover the exact skills you need to practice to boost your musical creativity in this article about .
3. You continually dismiss small ideas that come to you on a regular basis because you think they “aren’t good enough”... and soon forget all of them.
To solve these problems you need to create a strategy that helps you take advantage of the stream of inspiration that comes to you every day.
Have you ever seen a guitar of some model or color that seemed to be so unique... and then you start seeing the exact same one all over the place? What happened here? When you made a conscious awareness of the design / color of that guitar, your mind took note of it and made it “relevant” to you. This is a mental phenomenon that you can take advantage of for the sake of becoming a much more creative musician.
Use this concept to consciously direct your mind towards seeking unique ideas - Every time you listen a song, focus your attention toward a specific instrument. Then, isolate it in your mind and listen for unusual patterns (or anything you may have missed while previously listening to the song).
Like any other type of exercise, the more you do this, the better you become at it. Keep practicing looking for unique ideas and you soon will be amazed with all the new things you discover.
You can’t schedule inspiration, because great ideas might show up at any time. So you must be ready to catch them in any situation. Be serious about this because when you lose an idea, it’s almost sure you will not remember it again. Make sure you always have a voice recorder and/or pen and paper close to you (if you don’t have your guitar) so you never miss a gem of inspiration again.
At first, focus on quantity instead of quality. Forget about thinking of killer ideas at this point - your only task is to collect as many ideas as you can. Additionally, do not criticize your ideas or develop a strong opinion about them... Later on will be time to criticize and refine any idea, but for now, hold back any opinion of them. Even if any idea seems bizarre or odd at first, welcome it and keep it with the rest.
Once you have amassed a good amount of fresh ideas, it’s time to turn them into actual songs (or guitar riffs, licks, solos, etc.). The best way to do this is to learn how to combine your understanding of music theory together with your physical guitar playing skills. Learn how to do this by reading this article series on the topic of great songwriting techniques.
Now that you know the process for unleashing your inner creativity, implement it on a regular basis to strengthen your overall ability to express yourself through music. To develop your creativity skills even faster, work with the right guitar teacher who can help you attain higher levels of musical creativity.
Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world.
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