#1
So I'm taking guitar lessons/teaching myself how to play guitar. I need to get on my teacher a bit more about getting him to tell me what exactly to do in my practice time and not just have him be like "Here's twenty new chords, practice these." That doesn't help, it's just information overload. For now though, on my own, I'd like to set up my own practice program to help me do what I want to be able to do.

Here's the story. I'm only about 8-9 months in but I know exactly what I want to do. I'm not so much interested in learning other people's songs, I find it doesn't keep my attention and I can't really get into music that other people have written. I found that out early on and find that I much prefer to make my own music.

My problem: I can play much more technical songs than I can write myself and find that my writing skills are very lacking, especially when coming up with lead parts (like I can't write music that's of the same caliber that I can play). I can come up with the occasionally decent sounding part but I can sit there for hours and just improv and not really know what to do over what's going on in the background.

I know a lot of this is just practice but I know that there's got to be more to it than just hoping I find something that sounds write. I told my teacher I wanted to learn theory but he just keeps showing me the same chord shapes over and over on different parts of the fretboard. That's all well and good but I could have bought a book for that if I just wanted to know every chord under the sun.

So I'm wondering what's a good way to go about practicing guitar in a way that will teach me how to create my own music? Be it spending some time playing over jam tracks, running through scales up and down the fretboard, whatever. I know there's got to be somebody out there who has a similar mentality to myself, I'd appreciate a guidance from a broader group of more experienced players than myself who have had more of a background creating their own materials.

I'll be happy to answer any questions that people would find helpful in guiding me in the right direction. I'm very enthusiastic about guitar and its one of the things I love most in the world, I just need someone to point me in the write direction that will help me learn how to create, not imitate.

Thanks a ton for reading or skimming all of that, I know its a lot of information. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated as I don't really know what would be the most efficient way to go about guitar this way.

JWD
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#2
I've struggled for years writing songs - melody is my biggest downfall, because I don't have a voice I find it hard to come up with something over my guitar chords.

I think you should really listen to bands/artists you really love and you would like to sound something similar too or music you would like to come through in you music and really study what they are doing. Look at the structure of a few of their songs (perhaps your favourites) - what structure it follows (verse-chorus etc), what instruments there are and what they are doing and how they effect the feel of the song (example piano plays airy little fills whereas the acoustic guitar is the rhytmic centre), how their lyrics are delivered (how subject matter relates to the how the song works - emotion/feel/tempo etc), simplicity or complexity of the melody and chords, harmonies (vocals or otherwise). Just disect their songs and find out why you like them, why they do what they do to you.

About practising guitar; if your teacher won't listen to you and what you want to get out of it - find a new one.

As for theory, pick up the phone book and look for some theory teachers (even if it's just for a few lessons to get the basics) or buy some of the theory Associative Board of Music books (they go through grades 1-8).

Hope this wasn't too full on and was helpful to you
Last edited by Deathsdoor99 at Jan 7, 2009,
#3
I know a lot of this is just practice but I know that there's got to be more to it than just hoping I find something that sounds write. I told my teacher I wanted to learn theory but he just keeps showing me the same chord shapes over and over on different parts of the fretboard. That's all well and good but I could have bought a book for that if I just wanted to know every chord under the sun.


Learning those chord shapes is an important part of soloing confidently, and you have to learn dozens more shapes.

Theory is very important, and you should be learning it. However, if your teacher is asking you to learn these chord shapes so that he can demonstrate and start you off using a chord tone soloing method, then refusing to learn them is no good.

You will need to learn chord shapes everwhere at some point if you want to take any style of music other than grindcore to a high level, and it's great for trying out ideas and coming up with them.

So I'm wondering what's a good way to go about practicing guitar in a way that will teach me how to create my own music?


Compose! Constantly. Use everything you know and/or feel and/or hear to create new music - your music.

Why bitch about chord shapes when you can use them? Indeedly, I actually have a piece that I wrote during my chord-shape-around-the-fretboard phase - "Never Worn "

The important thing is the mindset with which you approach your study, and the degree of freedom you allow yourself to compose with.

An imortant thing I want to ask is "How much do you trust you teacher?". You don't seem confident he has a plan for you, and as such you aren't following it. There's no way you can do "your" practice AND "his" practice unless you really, really pile into it, and I doubt you have that much inclination.

If your teacher has a plan for you to learn theory and it requires you to learn things like "20 chords in a week", you're the cause of your own lack of theoretical progress.

If your teacher is fobbing you off by getting you to learn shapes and clearly has no plan for you, learn what you can from him or ditch him.

This seems to me to be the primary issue you raise and you can just ask your teacher - "Do you have a plan for me to learn theory that moves on from this material?". Judge whether you want to stay or not on his response.

For some theory lessons, check my sig and see how "Well duh" the three vids are.
#4
Yeah I can understand the structure like verse-chorus, etc. Its more that when I'm writing my own stuff, I can come up with little lead licks and then chord progressions, but i cant seem to come up with stuff that fits together. It also doesnt help that I listen to a lot of Muse and some rage against the machine and them heavy metal thats way beyond my skill level. Muse and Rage are much more experimental and tend to not have very traditional approaches to music which I like, but I'm not at the point yet where I can break the rules and still have it sound good.

EDIT: I understand the shapes are important but he doesnt really seem to have a plan. He teaches me chord shapes that I can do but doesn't tell me how to practice them so I can get them permanently in my head. But from that, right when I think he might start teaching me what to do with them, what keys to use them with etc, he asks me to bring in a song to work on with him. So I do and essentially all he does is play through it with me and is like well that was fun. Yes it was, but I could have played it at a slower place with a metronome on my own and gotten the same thing accomplished. He's not explaining the solo's or anything or trying to get me to understand how the song works, hes just playing through it with me which doesn't help.
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Whammy IV>Pitchblack>Dunlop 536Q>Fulltone Fulldrive 2>Hardwire TL-2>MXR 10 Band>Line 6 M13
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Last edited by JWD32792 at Jan 7, 2009,
#5
Quote by JWD32792
I can't really get into music that other people have written.


so in other words....you can't get into music.
(Until you've written something......all music is written by other people.)


What made you want to get into playing guitar then? Were you like, "man musicians suck, Im not really into them, but I bet if I wrote something it would awesome" ??


"others peoples" music is in most cases the inspiration for people wanting to play. Playing "other peoples" music gets your ears, mind and hands on the materials, and gives you a context to better understand them in. If you truly like music..... it's also alot of fun.

Refusing to learn " other people's music", denies you the chance of seeing/hearing and understanding the materials used in context. Without context you have no music.... just raw materials.


Quote by JWD32792
I just need someone to point me in the write direction that will help me learn how to create, not imitate.



^ This point of view is your whole problem in my opinion. Imitation in no way takes away from your creativity. if you have it in you to be creative, than what you learn through imitation will only give you more to work with. I don't mean to sound like a jerk but you might want to consider putting your ego aside and learn to appreciate what others have done. Then you will benefit from what you learn and be able to apply it in your own creative endeavors.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 7, 2009,
#6
Well it's not that I can't get into music in general, I can get into it when I'm listening to it, hell I listen to music all day. Its more that when I play it I don't get the same level of connection with something, even a song I really love, that someone else has made as when I've been able to make my own stuff. And as I've been ranting about my teacher, its not that I don't expect him to go through songs with me, I just expect him to point stuff out and be like "see that's something that's very useful in creating songs". Or "notice how he's doing this while the rhythm track does this progression". I appreciate music very, very much, I have created some little stuff and I just find that its a lot more satisfying to be playing something you've created, something where you understand what the sound trying to be achieved was at each note change.

As you said, why the hell would I have started guitar if I didn't like music? I do, but the reason I started was so I could learn how to create my own. I AM inspired by other people's work, I just don't really know how to create my own that reflects what I think about when I hear a certain song. I'm not mad at my teacher because he's having me bring in songs to go over, I'm more upset with him because of HOW he's handling that, he's not helping me understand the music, he's just playing a song along with me and occasionally saying that a note can be accessed easier in a different position (which is helpful in some ways if I was just focused on forming a library of songs I can play). He's been saying, just focus on learning like 5-10 songs and just get good at them so you have a collection of music that you can play. That's fine, I see the logic there. I'd prefer however to say okay these 5 songs are from other artists, and these 5 I wrote myself.

I don't want to be just a cover artist, I spent the first months of my playing just focusing on other people's stuff and not trying to write my own because I didn't know how. Now I'm fumbling my way through a song I've been working on but I find it very difficult, not because I don't know what I want to do with the song, it's more that I don't know how to do it.

The point of this thread was to seek help in learning how to make my own music, not to rant about how I hate other people's music, because I don't. It was more that I find myself playing along with a song and not getting the same satisfaction as doing something on my own that has been created after listening to many songs and using them as inspiration. I want to make my own music, it's what I get more enjoyment from. I have ideas I just don't know how to take it from my head and put it into action. In getting suggestions on how to train myself to compose my own pieces, I hoped to learn the ropes a bit, get suggestions on how to formulate a song and understand what I'm doing rather than just hoping to get lucky.

EDIT:
This point of view is your whole problem in my opinion. Imitation in no way takes away from your creativity. if you have it in you to be creative, than what you learn through imitation will only give you more to work with. I don't mean to sound like a jerk but you might want to consider putting your ego aside and learn to appreciate what others have done. Then you will benefit from what you learn and be able to apply it in your own creative endeavors.


^^^ You're missing my point. I realize I need to learn from others, I do play other people's music, I just want to be able to make my own AS WELL so I'm not limited to other people's work. I play lots of songs by others and find out what I like as far as how it's constructed and what I don't. I want to use this to make my own pieces. My question, as I've stated, was how? What are some good exercises to teach me how to make my own work? What are some ways others go about creating songs once you have an idea?
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Last edited by JWD32792 at Jan 7, 2009,
#7
well, you've been playing for a very short amount of time. I would suggest forgetting about the whole " other people" thing and just look at it as learning music. Take it all in, and get what you can out of it.


Keep listening, keep learning, keep practicing, keep playing, keep being creative, and most importantly let yourself enjoy the overall experience.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 7, 2009,
#8
Quote by GuitarMunky
well, you've been playing for a very short amount of time. I would suggest forgetting about the whole " other people" thing and just look at it as learning music.


Keep listening, keep learning, keep practicing, keep playing, keep being creative, and most importantly let yourself enjoy the overall experience.


I realize I'm not very far in, but I put a lot of time into this (many hours a day, every day) and I want to know how to put my creativity to use and make my own stuff, I don't think that's too much to ask.
Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe/Ibanez RGA42/LTD EC401vf
Into:
Whammy IV>Pitchblack>Dunlop 536Q>Fulltone Fulldrive 2>Hardwire TL-2>MXR 10 Band>Line 6 M13
Into:
80s Carvin x100b w/ cab
#9
Quote by JWD32792
I realize I'm not very far in, but I put a lot of time into this (many hours a day, every day) and I want to know how to put my creativity to use and make my own stuff, I don't think that's too much to ask.


What you do is get creative with the materials you have available to you. ( you gain the materials through practice and learning about music).

every song you learn gives you more to work with
any information you learn gives you more to work with


keep learning and adding materials to your "toolbox".
use your brain and get creative with what you already have available to you.
shred is gaudy music
#10
Well, you're both right, in a sense. I can see where the OP is coming from, as when I started I wasn't interested in looking at tabs or anything. I wanted to learn theory and be able to sit down and just play whatever came to me, soloing and just dinking around. As I matured in my playing, I realized that I was looking at it all wrong.

THE best way to learn is to learn songs of artists you look up to. As you play them, you will pick up their techniques, and as you learn theory you will look back and realize how they integrate certain techniques into some of your favorite songs. Soon you will be playing your own music, but give it time. Learning to fluently speak guitar is a long process.

When I practice, I'll start off with warm-ups/fingering exercises, then I move to scales and whatever lessons I'm working on relating to music theory, then as a cool down, I do a combination of fooling around or "playing" the guitar and trying to figure out melodies to songs I really like. It will keep your interest level up at the very least, because 2 hours of scales can really wear on you.