I've had discussion with bandmate about learning stuff. He believe that after a person reach a stage when he can write original material, it's better to focus on that (improving songwritting) than to practice other bands songs. He also stated that there's no point in playing covers after that stage. So basicly you write something, practice and play that, and than write something else etc etc. I didin't agree, but it get my mind preocupied, bacuase it's interesting topic. Anyway, I think that there are always benefits of learning other peoples's songs, since much of that stuff will have different technical chalenges and different structures, and it can dramaticaly improve one's songwritting skills, but he didn't agree with me, as he said that it's enough to just listen to music a lot and with that you can build influences. What do you think about this in general?
I don't think it's an either/or question. You can benefit from both. What would concern me about your bandmate, is that by saying "This way only is better" when he hasn't even made it, nor has he proven that he can write a song at least as good or better than the covers he's thinking aren't as beneficial, he effectively walls off the benefits of learning from everything. I have found that the most marginal of musicians tend to think like that, and most never go on to accomplish anything anyways. Those who stay open, embrace everything and are teachable, tend to take their musical potential the farthest.


writing your own music is pointless when sampling exists

why not just nick stuff from people that are much cleverer than you that's what i do
What Sean and Faux said, IMO.
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It's all good as long as you're open to learning and don't have a know-it-all complex... you'll learn a ton of stuff from learning other people's songs as well as writing your own stuff. Hell, you can even learn something from watching the worst guitarist in the world.
I kindof stopped really learning songs a while ago, but I do listen more than 4 hours of music every day and often think "hey I should use a drum fill like that with such a beat" or "having a solo behind the first verse is something I should do" so I still borrow a lot of songwriting from songs I like. Then again, I do think learning songs above your level is the best way to practise, buy I just don't spend a lot of time on progressing anymore.

I would never say it's a bad thing to learn other people"s songs though, just go for a healthy mix between the two :-)
Do both.

Learning other peoples songs isn't going to be as beneficial for your own songwriting abilities as writing for yourself and improving that skill but learning other peoples songs still has benefits.

Generally it's good for playing something above your current level and getting better as a player, learning how to use different techniques by hearing them be used in a variety of ways you wouldn't think about otherwise, hearing and using different structures and time signatures etc. and seeing for yourself how they could and can be used. Improving your ear is also a good one to mention if you're learning the songs by ear (tabs don't help this nearly as much).

Even after years of writing my own stuff I still learn other peoples songs if only for the reason that I really like them and think it would be fun and neat to learn them...Which is another reason actually, "because I like it".
When I was eleven I broke the patio window and my mother sued me... She's always been a very aggressive litigator.
You don't learn any more from covering other people's music than you would just listening to it.

Write your own music from day one.
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You don't learn any more from covering other people's music than you would just listening to it. .

Yes you do!
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Yes you do!

I think he's trolling
Anyway, thanks guys, I'll continue to do both, since there's an ocean of things to learn, and I only learned a little drop of it (actually, a drop of a drop of a drop!!)
Last edited by kimi_page at Jul 19, 2014,
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Do both. They benefit and complement each other. Learning stuff from other people sinks in and changes the way you play and write music, and writing music helps you understand better what others are doing. If you do both things, you'll improve overall as a musician.

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It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
I guess it depends on your goals. Personally I'd like to write and record my own material, and learning other people's songs is probably taking away a lot of time that would be better spent pursuing that goal. But I feel it's important as a technique builder, and you can always learn a lot from analyzing and adapting the stuff from other people's songs and using it in your own playing.

But if you're not into songwriting and just dream of playing covers in a bar band, then obviously your goals would be different.