Musician's Corner

Improve your musicianship

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10 TIPS ON HOW TO BECOME A BETTER MUSICIAN

Becoming a proficient musician takes time and effort, regardless of whatever level you are pursuing.  Stage presence, musicianship and even song writing/arranging are skills best cultivated away from the bright lights of the stage.

No matter how long you’ve been playing, it’s always a good idea to stretch yourself—this produces growth!  If you would like to take your musicianship to the next level, put these 10 tips into practice.  Enjoy the journey!

1.     Be sure to warm up daily!  Use scales &/or rudiments to get you ready to play and to improve your technique.  Start with learning all 12 major scales with their Key Signatures. Scales prepare you to effectively play in all keys.

2.     Set Goals. Set realistic targets for yourself at every opportunity and work towards them consistently.  Such goals can include learning a certain scale from memory in one practice session, or mastering an entire song by the end of the week.  By accomplishing set goals, you will enjoy a greater sense of achievement as your skills develop and you will approach each practice session with a more focused and productive attitude.

3.     Organize or Sit In On a Jam Session (or Join a Group).  Whether you’re aiming to start a new band, or just enjoy a friendly jam with friends, playing in a group can help improve your timing, technique, sight reading and improvisational skills. Playing with other people exposes you to new ideas and methods.  It’s also a great way to get feedback on your own playing.  (If you’re not able to get with a group as yet, then simply practice playing along with a recording.)

4.     Know Your Keys!!  This is one of the benefits of learning scales and Key Signatures.  No one wants to get caught in a key with which they are unfamiliar!  So, learn those scales AND transpose the songs you learn into as many keys as possible (if not all of them)!

5.     Take Lessons.  Taking lessons is one of the most effective ways to become a better musician, no matter what your skill level may be.  There’s always something new to learn and a professional mentor can help you develop new techniques and improve old ones.  However, if you’re strapped for cash, ask a musician friend for help with anything you don’t know or understand. You can also learn from the many free YouTube tutorials that cover your instrument.

6.     Get to Know Your Gear. Take the time to run through the features of your equipment. Spend wisely when making purchases; use online tutorials or demos to help you decide what suits your musical and financial needs best.

7.     Take Advantage of Online Resources.  There are countless amounts of resources for musicians who are looking to improve their skills and learn new songs.  Thousands of tablature, chord charts, sheet music and videos are available for your use.  If you want to learn new chords, check out some of the tutorials posted on this site.  Another way to learn is to ask or observe other musicians, study a genre you’re unfamiliar with, or just experiment!

8.     Move Out of Your Comfort Zone As Much As Possible.  It’s often tempting to stick with what you already know but, as a developing musician, you should push yourself and challenge yourself to discover new ways of playing. Yes, it can be frustrating and it will most likely be difficult, but the rewards that come from mastering something new will be worth it. Expand your listening library and your listening time.  Master the nomenclature (vocabulary) of classical, jazz and popular music.  As time goes by, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve learned and grown!

9.     Use Inversions.  One reason why people get bored with their own playing is because they play all their chords in root position.  By simply inverting your chords, you introduce newness into your playing.  These “new” chords will freshen up your progressions and your voicings.

 

10.   Need More Help?  Feel free to post a question on my contact page.  You can also make a request for private lessons.  Remember—music makes students out of all of us so embrace the process of learning and practice consistently.  And don’t forget to have fun!!

© 2020 by Bobby Soverall