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how to practice creativity

Turatu

Joined: Apr 18 2011

hey all, i've realized that i've been less inclined to play any of my instruments anymore, and i've further realized that i've been practicing only technical skills and as a result been going nowhere which is the reason why i've lacked motivation for it lately

so instead of just studying technical aspects and skills anymore and hope i make progress, i'd like to learn how to practice creativity effectively, and i've decided i'd come here for some help, if i can be helped lol

basically i want to be able to practice and apply my technical skills effectively in a creative way, i already study music theory, so i'd much prefer no suggestions to go listen to more music, as that only really helps to get a certain sound, much like listening to different accents and dialects to pick them up, and i'd really prefer not sounding like some copy of other musical artists, besides that, musical theory is enough is enough of a foundation for me to build on

so does anyone happen to have any lessons, or advice that i could possibly use?

also, i've been playing guitar for nearly 5 years now and i have not for the life of me been able to barre effectively, at all, ever, and could really use assistance in figuring out how, if anybody has advice for that?

Don't really have a practice

BigHeadClan

Joined: Jan 20 2012

Don't really have a practice regiment for you to try out or tips as I'm not the type of person who enjoys sitting down and analyzing how I can be a better musician. Buuut it kind of sounds like you are burning out.

Just a thought *shrug*

Quote : " also, i've been

TheDoomOfAllFires

VG Maniak

Location: France

Joined: Aug 26 2008

Quote : " also, i've been playing guitar for nearly 5 years now and i have not for the life of me been able to barre effectively, at all, ever, and could really use assistance in figuring out how, if anybody has advice for that?"

I do have an advice for that.
Dude. Use your thumb and your index, and...
Be a crab.
Be a fucking crab. :D

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https://www.youtube.com/c/VGManiak

If you want to know how to

auriplane

Joined: Sep 06 2008

If you want to know how to barre, read: http://douglasniedt.com/TechTipLittleJennifersSecret.pdf

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Auriplane!!

Similar Boat

DanteUruzu

SIr Dante Uruzu

Joined: May 11 2010

I'm in a similar boat as you, if not the same one. I've been playing the guitar for about as many years as you. I got my first guitar (a First Act from Walmart xD) on October 14, 2009. I started out playing Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter and other simple songs haha. Anyway in the beginning, I never knew what to practice so I always just screwed around. I picked up a book here and there but it was always just so boring. I didn't really practice anything that much. There were songs I wanted to play but 1) they were all way beyond my level and 2) I could never find tabs for them (I was in my early days of listening to J-Rock & J-Pop xD), so I never really played any songs by other musicians during those days.

During my 2nd or 3rd year at High School I started a band with a few of my friends because I thought it would be fun and help me get better. I was the only one who played an instrument at that time (albeit rather poorly xD). One decided to learn to play the bass and the other decided to learn to play the drums. We found a vocalist and a keyboardist (who ended up leaving very early). We started out doing simple covers. Our first cover song was Monster by Skillet (I loathe that song to this day because it's pretty much the only one we would ever play xD). Eventually we got another guitarist but he ended up leaving after a while. At some point we went on a hiatus. Then one day we got back together and started looking for another guitarist. We found one and he stayed with us for quite a while. I'm sidetracking a bit.

During all of that time I barely practiced. I did some here and there but nowhere as much as I should have. I just wasn't motivated enough. My dreams of impressing the people I liked and standing out there on a stage having everyone cheer for me weren't pushing me forward enough. Not being able to find tabs and not having the ability to play the songs I wanted to didn't help my cause either (I knew I needed to practice to get to a point where I could play the songs I could find tabs for, but I just wanted to be able to do it instantly...). The only real playing I did was when I was with the band, and all we really did was either jam or play Monster. No one in the band liked Japanese music like I did, so we always planned on covering American/Western music which also didn't help me want to keep playing. I just kept loosing interest in the guitar.

Anyway, I eventually started practicing technical stuff (scales, arpeggios, sweep picking, etc.) in an attempt to gain more skill and speed. It was just so damn boring and I couldn't, for the life of me, stay motivated. I practiced it a few times a week. Then I'd put the guitar down for a few weeks and proceed to pick it up again and practice some more technical stuff a few weeks later (I picked it up here and there to mess around a bit, but no real practicing). I eventually ended up putting the guitar down altogether after my last gig with the band. It's been... maybe almost a year since then...

Recently I've picked up the guitar again (briefly a day or so far today quite a bit. Sarted with a few backing tracks and had some fun. Gonna get to some J-Rock songs, too!) I just can't give up. I mean, I can but I don't want to. I figured if I practiced playing to backing tracks and wrote songs (and actually finished them xD)I can manage to stay motivated. I've managed to find tabs to some of the simple J-Rock songs I want to play. And I've got a few tabs for the difficult one's, too xD. One way I plan on motivating myself is to listen to my favorite songs. I do that from time to time and I just get so pumped! No doubt that's one of the reasons I decided to pick up the guitar again. I figured I'd transcribe some of the simple songs I want to play as well as learn them by ear instead of waiting for tabs to magically appear. I still plan on doing technical stuff too, but I'm going to experiment with making it more musical. Playing through scales at a slow tempo and increasing the speed to gain speed? Make a short little song out of it. That's what I'm going to try.

Anyway, if you have some friends that play instruments I recommend join up with them and jam out. It can be fun and inspiring. It was for me sometimes, despite the huge differences in our musical styles. I enjoyed being with other musicians and being able to play around. It's much better than always playing along. Another thing to try is practicing with another friend. No doubt it'd be much more fun than practicing alone. Hmmm... after doing some technical work, put it to use with a backing track or write a song (short or long) that incorporates what you practiced. Find songs that have the techniques you're learning. Slow them down if need be and work up the speed. Listen to your favorite songs and watch live performances of your favorite bands. Collab with other guitarists. Those are some of the things I'm going to try out. I feel like they will help. Maybe they can help you, too. :) Don't worry, you are not alone!

tl;dr Just read the last paragraph xD

I hope this was helpful in some way, even if very small xD

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"You are free to sever the chains of fate that bind you."

Also!

DanteUruzu

SIr Dante Uruzu

Joined: May 11 2010

Also, being unique can be a challenging thing. I think it's okay to try to be like someone else for a little while. Eventually one should want to be original and unique. sometimes imitating someone else can help to form one's own style -- take a little of this musician, a little of that musician, some of that other musician over there, mix up a bit of your own playing style and BAM! Not that simple, I know. But hey, what is? :)

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"You are free to sever the chains of fate that bind you."

Practice should not be all

Giogiogio4

For all the dreamers: Our planet's dream is not over yet...

Joined: Jun 10 2010

Practice should not be all skill stuff. Honestly if done right you should take 30 mins each day to practice skills.
Play one sweep for 5 mins nonstop to a metronome. Then practice for 30 mins, move onto another teq for 30 mins and so on. If your practice time is 3 hours. No playing things you already can play, no wasting time playing around.

My routine is.

30 min warmup-scale runs
30 mins note location practice with drill software.
30 mins of sweep picking
30 mins of rhythm study.
1 hour of using what I learned to improv and create.

When it comes to study you should be learning and using it. With the internet people tend to jump from topics too quickly. or they stay on one thing waaay too long.

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My Art for sale! : Here

Latest Recording:Man of the World

okay, well, i just spend like

Turatu

Joined: Apr 18 2011

okay, well, i just spend like 2 hours writing a long ass comment replying to all of you, that mostly sounded like me bitching, complaining, and being generally ungrateful, and making excuses, so after i proof read it, i deleted it, cause it feels like none of that for me, i'm grateful for all the advice and stuff i just feel like none of it has really tackled my problem (concerning creativity), or that i've already heard it or figured it out before, so i'll just leave it at that because i don't feel like feeling like a close-minded asshole, so just know that it was all appreciated, lol

but i do have a few replies that aren't douchebaggery, mostly smart-assery really and a plea for advice in a different direction.... ssssoooooooooooo...........

TheDoomOfAllFires said

I do have an advice for that.
Dude. Use your thumb and your index, and...
Be a crab.
Be a fucking crab. :D

but wouldn't that create more problems? i mean, a crab has that concave arch in it's claw, wouldn't that hinder barring, like a lot? XP my middle digit is the problem i've spent years trying to fix, using my hand as crab claws would be a step back in the opposite direction for me XD

auriplane said

If you want to know how to barre, read: http://douglasniedt.com/TechTipLittleJennifersSecret.pdf

i never had the dexterity to play guitar when i first started, so pulling it against me with arm strength is as natural as blinking, but it doesn't seem to help, my indexes middle digit is the problem, and i've tried various of different positions to correct it, but it's mostly been a disheartening failure, or something that feels like a precursor to carpel tunnel syndrome, i'm mostly considering getting some sort of flexible, but hard tool i can wear over my index to correct my problem, but i want to be sure i'm completely fucking ass up, head on the ground retarded before i bend over for something like that, after all, it's a better feeling of accomplishment if one can achieve something without augmentation, thank you for the advice though, i read the entire page and gave it a good 45 minutes of practice with attention to detail, but was evident of going backwards of my current progress

DanteUruzu said

Anyway, if you have some friends that play instruments I recommend join up with them and jam out. It can be fun and inspiring. It was for me sometimes, despite the huge differences in our musical styles. I enjoyed being with other musicians and being able to play around. It's much better than always playing along. Another thing to try is practicing with another friend. No doubt it'd be much more fun than practicing alone. Hmmm... after doing some technical work, put it to use with a backing track or write a song (short or long) that incorporates what you practiced. Find songs that have the techniques you're learning. Slow them down if need be and work up the speed. Listen to your favorite songs and watch live performances of your favorite bands. Collab with other guitarists. Those are some of the things I'm going to try out. I feel like they will help. Maybe they can help you, too. :) Don't worry, you are not alone!

tl;dr Just read the last paragraph xD

i read the entirety of your post, longer posts = more content = more information, and be it positive or negative, still deserves to be read, and can result in positive growth lol

so with that said, splendexcellent story and goals! while not being my schtick are quite respectable, if i may share mine:

my goal is to become a virtuoso for every instrument i can afford, i don't really want public appreciation, i play for myself, it's my way to emote, which is why i've made creativity a huge deal in my post, playing isn't something i really care about sharing with the world, let alone the people around me, my goal is about entertaining me, and not others, so i have a massive amount of pride in it, the biggest thing i wish to achieve with my goal is to -despite loathing travelling- travel the world and compose many different pieces for the many different places i would visit, and how they affect me, in a form that matches the setting, and even the different moods based on the time of day and the weather.... which is also a reason i stressed that nobody should suggest that i listen to other genres of music or different artists, because it's something that i fully understand and already commit to because it's primarily necessary to my goal

in short, my dream/goal is to create my own personal soundtrack to life, and earning technical skills, creative skills, becoming a virtuoso, and even earning a PhD in music are merely tiny milestones to a much bigger personal goal, in that respect, and while i may get demotivated, i'm dedicated on suicidal levels to achieving this, and that's only my goal as an emo musician, as a person, i have much more incredibly unrealistic goals and dreams compared to it i.e. learning all the things, PhD in all the things, quite literally, achieving ALL the things that are capable of being achieved

i earned my first milestone for achieving all that can be achieved when i was 10 years old, earning my first black belt in a martial art, age 12 i won first place in 2400 metre long distance track and field run despite asthma, coughing up blood, and being quite literally the smallest, least fit person in the race, i have not given myself a mental limit to what i can and can't do, anything that is apparent that i can't do, just goes through my mind as "just haven't figured this out yet"

my motto is "trying is planning on giving up before you can succeed" i'm either too patient or stubborn to quit, and alot of the time, i do it my own way, only going to others when desperate, so i detest practicing with others, after all, if you have to compromise what you are doing to be around others, it really isn't aiding creativity or progress, not unless you plan to play with others, then it helps stage performance, but if you're working as a solo artist, any compromise that results in you doing things that are not in your direction, would naturally be boring, and would have negative results, a perfect example is how you explained that you dropped guitar because you became so demotivated, the advice is appreciated, but it's not for me, i want to be motivated again, i don't want to be disgusted and feel so ashamed i would quit (it is how i would feel, because of my pride) i tried to look at it objectively and applied logic, but it just doesn't compute XD

confronting it has made me think though, that if i practice technical stuff both logically and illogically at the same time, i may find the creative skills i'm searching for, so i'd like to thank you for making me think, cause now i have something to test myself with for a few months

oh and btw danteuruzu, your

Turatu

Joined: Apr 18 2011

oh and btw danteuruzu, your tab for dart's theme from legend of dragoon is one of my favorite tabs that i have mastered, AND one of the first ones i mastered, it's especially fun to play and i use it as warm up occasionally

If you can't figure out what

auriplane

Joined: Sep 06 2008

If you can't figure out what you're doing wrong by yourself, you may want to find a good teacher to help you in person.

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Auriplane!!

Wish I had some helpful

hslesperance

Location: Walpole, MA

Joined: Aug 10 2008

Wish I had some helpful advice. But can I ask what you are doing now to be creative? Are you trying improvisation or composing and what kind of problems do you run into with either one?

You mentioned that you don't want to sound like other musicians; is that one problem that demotivates you? Like maybe you start writing a song, but it sounds too similar to something else so you drop it. Most of the early stuff you write is probably going to sound similar to other composers you listen to, that's kind of inevitable. It just takes a lot of practice before you figure out what kind of things you are good at and do uniquely. Even if the first few years of songs you write don't sound unique enough to call your own sound, you won't be able to grow until you have written those. For the moment though, you can still be proud of what you have done so far and just never stop trying to improve, even if it takes years to find your own voice.

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My Original Songs - https://soundcloud.com/hslesperance

practice creativity? practice

tiger child

Joined: May 31 2012

practice creativity? practice creating. and then don't stop. ever.

and in regards to your comment about either having heard it (advice) or having figured it out before - you'd be amazed how often the thing you need to do is the advice you keep getting, that you staunchly think is wrong or that it wont work for you. a lot of what you say (to be clear, this is not intended as a derogatory statement) comes across rather young or immature. don't worry about achieving all things possible. wanting too much across the board can often leave most individual aspect of your life under-developed and unfinished. the attitude of involving others will only compromise what you want is extremely narrow. despite the appeal of the lonely brooding artist image, i've found through a great deal of experience and peculiar circumstances, that the best way to grow and create and find who you are, is to open yourself up to the world. (this goes far beyond music). and for pete's sake, dont kill yourself trying to do anything. it honestly sounds like you have a lot of maturing to do.

do not misunderstand me, though, wanting to achieve a great deal is a wonderful thing. but try to allow yourself to learn, grow and evolve with the things you love. don't see them merely as things to conquer. or collaboration or outside influences as the enemy. you have to learn and experience things. people. ideas. because while you might become capable, you could likely be unfulfilled or uninteresting (i've seen it happen).

back to the main topic - my advice, while it might sound stupid and far too bland, is honest. dont have any kind of standards. dont try to make things that are unique or perfect. just create. start building. and do it often. start ideas, and finish them. and then start another. it doesn't matter if they are 30 seconds or 30 minutes. stay the course and hold fast.

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this music is my greatest accomplishment
-brick road

Creativity

Deiselc

Deiselc

Joined: Mar 20 2012

Hi I don't usually post too much on the forums but I felt the need to add my penny's worth.

As for learning how to be creative its not something that should be a goal to be accomplished. Creativity is whatever you create not a specific skill set.
Some people can use a dedicated practice schedule to learn exactly what they want to learn and apply that to what they create. Others like myself find that to be like work and I play for the enjoyment of playing. When I want to learn something I will sometimes spend 5 minutes on it or 3 hours on it, it depends on how i feel. While this may not be the most efficient way to learn I find it the most enjoyable and feel I have to most creative freedom to experiment, rather than be tied down to practicing something exactly for a set amount of time.
This way I play what I want to play and I constantly write and try to do different things that I haven't practiced.
I play in a blues band and this is primarily my genre of choice so I dont care to learn how to sweep or learn a bunch of different scales. I simply try to push the limits of what I know until I discover something new. However this works for whatever it is you want to play, simply apply what you know and purposefully play out of your comfort zone until you find something new.

Now it feels as though from what you've posted that you play for nothing more than self indulgence and think of others as a hindrance rather than people to work with or impress. This is fine for some things but even professional solo artists will have a team of people constantly working with them to help create the best sounding product. Because the goal of playing music is to sound good. Playing for self satisfaction is fine but I feel you wont ever reach your goal of "creativity" simply playing for yourself. If you wish to be a solo artist then record a hell of alot of ideas and send them to someone for a second opinion or post them on youtube or here and ask for peoples honest opinion of what could be better. This will give you a clear goal of what to improve upon and you will naturally start to be more creative in your playing and writing because you will feel as though you are getting somewhere. Whether it be impressing others or yourself.

I may be way off base here but I just felt I had to give my opinion.

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Deiselc

I was going through a few

natenmn

I haven't had a chance to trim my hedges recently. Thanks for visiting anyway...

Location: United States

Joined: Jul 17 2009

I was going through a few revisions of a reply to your last post regarding how everything you've written (your attitude, philosophies, etc.) will greatly hinder you from your goals, but it all sounded very harsh and that's not what I want. So, I'll refrain from that and just touch on your original post.

I know you said, "No theory," but how much theory have you learned? I think musical set theory might help you. It is fairly easy and focuses on relationships so that you can create something with a consistent sound. It can be used for anything from 12 tone rows to tertian harmony. If you're taking theory classes, you may have already learned it. However, it is commonly taught with 12 tone rows, which can give the impression that it's not useful for anything else.

Anyways, you can effectively make your own musical system with set theory. You can create your own scales and chords by just messing around until you find something you like and then you can expand upon it.

For example, I can create an 8 note scale consisting of:
C# D# E F# G G# A B# (I've used sharps instead of flats for this scale so that it appears almost diatonic and is easier for me to read in standard notation. However, I don't necessarily care about the note names as long as they are enharmonically equivalent to the sound that I want)

Then I can find a tetrachord (a four note chord) that I like consisting of these notes:
A B# C# D# (again, I could have called this something else like A C Db Eb, but I like the diatonic look of A to B# for melodic purposes when read in standard notation)

I can then use set theory to find all transpositions and inversions of that chord within the scale that I made up earlier. This allows me to find chords that have the same or similar sound. For example, all major triads have the same sound (they all sound major.) Minor triads are effectively inversions of major triads, and they have a similar, but different, sound to major triads.

A transposition of the previous tetrachord would be:
D# F# G A
This should have the same sound as my original chord.

An inversion would be:
F# G# A B#
This should have a similar, but different sound to my original chord.

All of these chords fit within my scale and have the same or a similar sound. Now I am ready (though I'd usually prefer to figure out all transpositions and inversions first) to create something that will be consistent. More importantly, and considering the topic, my newly created musical system has the potential to have never been used before.

If I go the extra step, I can easily figure out transpositions of my scale. Then I can figure out common chords between them and effectively modulate between the two scales in a similar fashion to normal tertian harmony. You can use a basic understanding of chord tones and active tones to create an interesting melody. You create faux progressions by moving from chord to chord based on how many notes they have in common.

If you want to be even more unique, you can throw in microtones. Then the possibilities open up even more.

It helps when you are able to

musenji

Joined: Feb 02 2010

It helps when you are able to see, imo.

...I'll show myself out.

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And then I realized that the chord progression from Chrono Cross's Another World is the same progression as the chorus from Peace of Mind by Boston, and life was never quite the same.

Play along with your favorite

NostalgiaTunez

Joined: Jul 22 2012

Play along with your favorite music. Don't necessarily try to play the melody (though if you want to practice your aural skills that is a good exercise for it), but just noodle along with it. Improvise over it. Whether you think about the actual scales behind the tunes doesn't really matter imo. Once you know the fretboard, you'll be able to play over something as an accompaniment or lead voice without even thinking about it. This is about 90% of what I've done, and while I'm not amazing at technique by any means, I certainly can improvise and be more "creative" than someone who just concerns themselves with technical exercises all day.

As far as barre chords, well, get an acoustic first off and put some medium gauge strings on it. You can develop strength on a nylon, but imo, it takes much longer because it's not as hard. Next, play lots of songs in only bar chord positions. At first it will hurt and be incredibly difficult to keep it up for more than a few minutes. But work on just increasing how many songs or how long you do it each day by just a little bit and the skill will develop. I had an advantage (or maybe disadvantage) for learning barre chords and being able to do them early on in my guitar playing by being apart of a church combo from 5th-8th grade (sophomore in college now). I didn't really know how to do many chords in open positions, so I just barred everything. It definitely didn't sound pretty at first, but I got more and more proficient with it as time passed. And today even though I don't play guitar everyday or even use barre chords a whole lot, I can still do barre chords with relative ease just from the sheer repetition of doing bar chords. Hope this helps.

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Concerning barre chords:

natenmn

I haven't had a chance to trim my hedges recently. Thanks for visiting anyway...

Location: United States

Joined: Jul 17 2009

Concerning barre chords:

  1. Don't be a crab and squeeze super hard
  2. Don't work on building strength other than what you need to actually sound the chord or hold the shape for as long as the piece requires

Doing either of those can damage your hand over time. Don't do them if you want to be able to play guitar when you're 50 years old. Besides, using too much pressure when fretting anything will affect your intonation, making your guitar sound out of tune.

Your problem most likely lies with how you are performing the barre, and with how the strings are fitting into the "grooves" of your finger.

My advice is to take some time to figure out which strings are giving you buzzing or a muted sound when you barre. Isolate the problem by arpeggiating the chord slowly. Find which strings are giving you an issue and adjust your hand position until the problem is fixed.

For example, if the third string is buzzing, then move your hand up or down (in relation to the ground and ceiling) so that the third string is no longer in the groove of your finger. In addition, you can roll your hand slightly towards the thumb so that you are barring more with the side of your finger. There are no grooves on the side of your finger to give you buzzes, but it will take a lot of practice to do it properly on a consistent basis. It will probably take MUCH more than the 45 minutes (which is barely anything) you spent trying to rectify the issue with the very good article that Auri posted.

Use your thumb as a counter balance. Don't let it hang over the neck (unless a chord requires you to fret with your thumb). Generally, the thumb should be centered on the back of the neck and lined up with your middle finger. However, you may need to adjust slightly based on the shape of your chord. For example, your thumb may be slightly higher for a major barre shape than it is for a minor shape to accommodate a different center point. It can be very difficult at first to fix your thumb, but it will save your hand a lot of fatigue when you get it right.

Also, remember that only the notes you are actually playing need to sound out clearly. Your barre doesn't necessarily have to be totally flat. For example, if you're holding an F# major in 2nd position, then only worry about the 1st, 2nd, and 6th strings being held with your barre. The other notes will be taken care of by your other fingers. A B minor barre with F# in the bass in 2nd position requires that the 1st, 5th, and 6th strings be held with a barre. The position of your hand may need to be altered slightly from shape to shape to compensate for strings falling into the grooves of your finger.

Lastly, a guitar with jumbo frets can help immensely. You won't need to press as hard because the frets are larger/taller. However, keep in mind that your intonation will be affected much more if you press too hard compared to a guitar without jumbo frets. A lighter touch is required. Also, while jumbo frets can be very helpful, don't use them as a crutch for the underlying issue of poor hand position.

Everyone's hands and fingers are different, so a lot of experimentation may be required.