It was a beautiful blue sky day in East Nashville, and me and my friends Justin and Matt were hanging out at the trendy East Nashville coffeehouse Barista Parlor. As we sipped 6 dollar black coffees (no creme allowed at this place) Matt and Justin blew my mind with a few practice suggestions. Here’s a few tips from them:
Learn New Material All The Time
Matt pointed out how important it is creatively to learn new music constantly. Breaking up your routine by listening carefully to how other musicians play their instruments can revitalize your playing in a big way.
Cut Your Phrases In Half
Matt had been part a session recently where the producer had suggested cutting a typical riff in half. We all have our go-to phrases onstage and in the studio, and chopping the back half or the front half off adds a cool creative twist.
Make It Talk
Justin is a master guitar player, and was experimenting before practice with making his instrument mimic the phrasing of the human voice (it was so convincing that as I was loading in I thought someone was singing). Listening to the natural rhythms of our voices and trying to copy it can have a profound effect on both musicality and creativity.
Copy Other Artists
Matt suggested that learning note for note versions of your favorite songs at the moment can reprogram your inner muse. Don’t just listen to new music, actually learn it and digest it.
Get Back To What Got You Going Musically
Both Justin and Matt agreed that practicing the way that got you to the first level of musical competency is so important to continued growth. We get so zoned in as we become more accomplished musicians, and sometimes going back to our roots can be so inspiring.
I popped in a Weezer album on the way home and smiled at how lucky I am to hang around such talented, thoughtful musicians.