20 December 2010

3 Ways To Accelerate Your Musical Growth

As you learn to play guitar you need to develop not just your guitar skills but also your musical knowledge. Why? There are several good reasons.


First for me is that increased musical knowledge will help you to get more out of your instrument. The more you understand how music works the better the music you'll be able to create will be.


Another reason is that knowledge of different styles and the ideas of other musicians in the past and present will feed your own musical ideas and help prevent you from getting stale.


Both these reasons add up to one great result - playing music stays fun. And what's fun gets done.


OK, so if you agree that growing musically is a useful thing, how do you go about doing it? Read on to learn about 3 methods I'm sure you'll find effective…


Listen Widely

The first step to broadening your musical knowledge is to open your ears. Make efforts to seek out new music, music you wouldn't usually listen to.


Be careful to avoid the mistake of dismissing something after just one listen. Many times, I've found music I didn't like much on the first listen turns out to be highly enjoyable. And sometimes the reverse is true too.


Listening to new music is a good step, but for maximum benefit try to learn and play some unfamiliar pieces too. Learning to play the songs will give you more insight into how they're made than simply listening to them will.


Analyse Your Likes And Dislikes

So now you listen and learn to play songs and music that you didn't pay attention to before. You're off to a good start. But to get maximum benefit you need to ask yourself questions as you do this.


Analyse the songs or passages that you like or dislike to answer the question, "Why?".


Why do you like this piece, or dislike that one? What is it that makes a piece of music likeable to you? What is it you dislike? Get clear and specific about the answers - in musical terms.


Armed with this knowledge you might start to see some common patterns that will help you to forge your own musical identity.


Reach Out To Other Musicians

Here's a final tip that will bring huge benefits if you put it into practice. The best way to open your ears to listen more and to learn about new types of music is through meeting other musicians.


Your relationships with other musicians will give you more knowledge and ideas to develop into a better musician yourself. It might be just a lick that you learn from someone else, a new way of looking at something familiar, or the discovery of a whole new musical style.


Let me recap these three ways to grow your musicality.


1. Listen widely, open your ears to new ideas.

2. Question, and learn why you like or dislike something.

3. Share and develop relations with other musicians to develop yourself musically.


How about you? What is your favourite way to explore and learn more about music? Do some sharing here by leaving a comment.


Anonymous said...

Radio and TV always let me hear plenty of mainstream music I wouldn't normally listen to, sometimes I can find a song I like that from a band or genre I wouldn't normally dream of listening to.
Independent podcasts can be a good source for hearing unusual and different music. Finding good indie podcasts can be tricky but it's worth the initial effort to find one or two that you like.
Websites like Jango can be great for discovering new bands, it's more based on stuff you would normally listen to but still a great way of finding new stuff.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Manny, I like Jango for that too. It's a nice way to discover new stuff within a style or genre. Thanks for the reminder.

IgnitedWeStand said...

Reaching out and playing with other musicians is what will bring out sides of your musical talent you didn't know you had. Especially if they are good musicians.

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