Developing Your Own Style of Music
By Matteo Miller-Nicolato
Learn other people’s songs. Practice them and play them. Pick some favorite songs that you like to listen to on a daily basis, and then learn them. If you don’t have any favorite songs, you should find some!
Analyze other people’s music. Listen closer than just putting it on in the background. Give your 100% undivided attention to the music. Try to listen to all the instruments playing. Try to remember every single tiny little part and recreate it in your mind later while it’s not playing. Try to create a visual mental image of the structure. Learning to play the song is not important. You must ANALYZE the music, and make observations.
Practice all the classic "David Gilmour bends" to improve your lead guitar playing.
Study the complex beats of The Mars Volta so you can come up with interesting rhythms.
Learn shredding patterns from Buckethead, Paul Gilbert, and Michelangelo Batio.
Analyze pop music to see how you could piece together song structure to write great hits.
Listen to Beethoven and Mozart to understand how great composers think.
Practice "rhythm to lead" guitar playing by learning Blink-182 riffs.
Write your own songs. The ideas you have within you need to come out. As you begin to write songs, they will start out simple and you will be able to make them more interesting and complicated as you continue to practice writing songs. You’ll start to realize that there are certain ideas you like to focus on more than others, like sticking to the same key, or playing the same licks, or soloing in the same spot, or using the same kinds of chord progressions… That’s fine! Stick with it for a while. You’ll notice it once you record it. Then you can start experimenting with more ideas.
Get into your own music. Being a great guitar player is less about having really good technique or having mastered some particular aspect of music. It’s mostly about the feeling that you are putting into your playing. Whatever emotion you are feeling while you are playing is the emotion that you are vibing to your listener. If you love your music, others will love it too! That’s why there are so many genres of music, people will fall in love with anything as long as it is a source of love. Use your music to share your love with the world. It’s an internal feeling. You don’t necessarily need to write a complicated masterpiece, but if you love your song it will BE a masterpiece.
Focus on certain specific techniques. Pick a particular kind of technique that you think is cool and try to make some songs with it. Pick a key that you like more than others. Pick a music theory concept you want to experiment with. Write songs that implement a heavy focus on this particular technique.
Alternate techniques as you become comfortable with them. Once you have one technique under your sleeve you should try to find something new to focus on. This will help expand your repertoire of what you can play and what you have to work with.
Copy other people’s style and technique and adapt it to your own style. Find some rockstars that you think are really sick and emulate them. Try to play like them. You won’t necessarily do this forever, but it is an exercise you should go through. Copy another person means learning something new. Once you know something then you can use it however you want.
Change your songwriting methods. You can record directly into a mic, you can write your ideas on tab paper, you can create songs with guitar pro on your computer, you can write it out in your mind and memorize it all without writing anything down.
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