How To Become A Well Rounded Musician

In this lesson you will learn about certain styles and artists. Picking up pieces from the artists you love. May it be from a vocalist, bass player or a guitar player.

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How to become a well rounded musician. That is the question I asked myself. Overtime I realized that you have to find what you like, and expand your point of view. Don't only listen to metal or rock. There are a lot of music genres from blues to jazz to heavy metal. Listening to only one genre makes you a not well rounded musician.
  • Step 1 What do YOU like? Don't listen to music to just be like someone else. Find at least 8 Artist you freaking love! They don't even have to be artist, they can also be composers or bands. Don't continue unless you've found em. You can only pick 2 songs per 1 genre of music. Here's my musical inspirations:
    Black Sabbath (Metal)
    System Of A Down (Metal)
    Cream (Blues)
    Santana (Freaking Latin Blues)
    Immortal Technique (Yes this is RAP, if you actually listen to the whole song you will love it)
    Jedi Mind Tricks (Rap is more about lyrics, just listen to the whole song, gives you new perspectives)
    Tenacious D (Rock)
    Note: you might not like those artists and that's okay. I for an example despise shredding, I just think it sucks.
  • Step 2 So why did I want you to list out your favorite artists? Now you know what you like and you will mostly build your music around that. Learn everything that your favorite musicians use and do. Maybe some of them have an exotic scale you like, learn it! Do they bend in an interesting way? Learn it! You want your songs to be versatile. By listening to lots of different genres and artists, you will do that. It's 50% what you come up with and 50% what you've listened to in the past that makes your songs.
  • Step 3 I know it's hard to find what you like, if you really don't find anything you like. You must invent it yourself. You can only come up with the music you like. Just listen to as many genres of music as you can and pick out your favorites. I wanted this lesson to be more about music than theory. (I hate theory but its important).
  • Things To Take From This Lesson
  • It is okay to listen to different music (Most people in my class listen to "You know Who - Baby") Listen to what you like and don't let anyone say otherwise. They don't like it? Not your problem.
  • Listen to many genres of music.
  • Take everything you've learned from those musicians and make it your own (may it be the way they bend or do vibrato, you can do it better.)
  • Only you can write the music you truly love. So stop thinking about writing songs, just get your guitar and do it (although you should get inspired first, it's hard to write out of the blue when not.)
  • 145 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Jugulator_cro
      DarkWolfXV wrote: Darn, probably my genres would be actually subgenres, since i dont really listen much outside metal, well, my way it would be: 1. Carcass - Corporeal Jigsore Quandary (Death Metal) 2. Suffocation - Infecting the Crypts (Death Metal) 3. Megadeth - Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Thrash Metal) 4. Slayer - Raining Blood (Thrash Metal) 5. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone (Stoner Doom) 6. Worship - Whispering Gloom (Funeral Doom) 7. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children (Grindcore) 8. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (Goregrind) Also i like shredding but only when done tastefully, no unneeded fretboard wankery, tastefully, i mean like Necrophagist - Fermented Offal Discharge solo.
      well rounded indeed
      Dwight.Schrute
      It's 50% what you come up with and 50% what you've listened to in the past that makes your songs.
      If I have ever seen a statistic that was complete bullshit it is this one. I mean seriously, if you are going to write and article and try to sound like you know what you are talking about please don't throw random numbers at it like feces at a wall hoping it sticks.
      FenderMaster
      That wasn't very substantial. For a start, most people who like less than 8 artists probably areen't learning an instrument. Secondly, this lesson could be summarised by simply saying: find an artist you like and copy their techniques.
      baumaxx1
      Basically this lesson states a couple of good points, but I would first like to wipe that whole "write like your favourite musicians thing" off the table. That's a bit closed minded and restrictive, and don't chuck in percentages. I wouldn't quite put it that way; the one that comes across as "____ favours this scale, and structures ____ song with this rhythm structure and chord progression, and solos with the ___ scale so I will too" The point of it is not to base your writing on them, but to pick up some interesting "tools" for your musical toolbox, and you can also dissect the songs and look at how they use theory; kind of a contextual look and you can borrow some of the ideas and use them in your own unique way. Good for learning licks and applying scales in an interesting manner. Step 3 is vague. Lastly on the article... the point is quite good. The delivery isn't quite there. It's almost a forum post. You can essentially cut it to: Learn songs, techniques and theory used by musicians you like. Keep an open mind; you can learn as much from jazz or blues as you can from metal or sitar music. Guthrie Govan has a good article on this in his book; Creative Guitar 1. This article needed some specific examples maybe of what you've learnt. e.g. Metal - 2 handed tapping Van Halen style can also enable you to play 2-handed piano chords borrowing cues from other instruments. Then there are all the eastern scales that have a distinctive sound. Michael Lee Firkins uses the whammy to shift pitch in a country slide guitar way. Jeff Beck on "where were you?" uses harmonics and the whammy bar to emulate Bulgarian choral music. A number of guitarists have borrowed the slap technique from funk bassists. Tosin Abasi uses that for example on the new album. Anyway.... my list: 1 Karnivool - Progressive Metal 2 Tosin Abasi - Jazz/Fusion/Metalcore 3 Primus - Primus 4 Carlos Santana - Latin Blues and a sexy lead tone 5 Living Colour - Funk Metal 6 Meshuggah - Apocalyptic 7 Pendulum - Drum and Bass, take away the lyrics and you have a massive sound. First album was revolutionary for the scene. 8 The Prodigy - Breakbeat 9 Evan Brewer - Jazz/Metal; wrote an album using only his bass guitar. Percussion and melody on one instrument. 10 The Mars Volta - Psychedelic Rock/ Fusion 11 Soundgarden - Grunge / Rock 12 Alice in Chains - Grunge 13 Devin Townsend - Everything 14 Above and Beyond - Progressive Trance 15 Cynic - Progressive Fusion Death Metal 16 Tool - Progressive Rock 17 Nine Inch Nails - Industrial 18 Alter Bridge - Hard Rock/Metal 19 Black Sabbath - Heavy Metal 20 Led Zeppelin - Rock and Blues (Even though they're heavily influenced =-P) You didn't say a maximum, but tried to keep the list unique. ^ I do need to look into some classical, folk and gypsy jazz though, lol.
      §tranger
      1.Prince (Pop/funk/soul/ballad/rock) 2.Steve Vai/Joe Satriani/Eric Johnson (Instrumental rock/Prog rock/Metal/Country instrumental rock for Eric Johnson? haha.) 3.Ludovico Einaudi (Pianist/Composer) 4.Gary Moore (Blues rock/hard rock/heavy metal/blues/ jazz fusion) 5.Led Zeppelin (Hard Rock) 6.Toto (Soft/Hard Rock) 7.George Benson/Earl Klugh (Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Soul) 8.Ryan Adams/Keith Urban ("Beige Rock" Alt/Rock Country). And Other variations of Rock and other stuff. :/ Too many to list. Done my best.
      ryan392
      For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) - Ac/Dc (Hard Rock) Thrills in the Night - KISS (Hard Rock) For the Greater Good of God - Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal) The Day That Never Comes - Metallica (Heavy Metal) Requiem for Dissent - Bad Religion (Punk Rock) This is Letting Go - Rise Against (Punk Rock) When It Rains - Paramore (Alternative Rock) Map of the Problematique - Muse (Alternative Rock)
      JB95
      I missed the part of the article where it says that you should make a list of your favorite bands.
      Aays
      This entire article is pretty much 'find what you like and get inspired by this'. And I don't think he asked anyone to start posting their own inspirations... Either way,
      vanklef92 wrote: opps-didnt finish before i posted haha What Breaks a Heart - Joe Satriani-instrumental The Riddle - Steve Vai- instrumental Blackbird - Alter Bridge - Hard Rock Dance With the Devil - Breaking Benjamin - Hard Rock Whales -Scale the Summit - Prog Metal Song of Solomon - Animals as Leaders - Prog Metal Aerith's Theme - Nubou Uematso - orchestral Flowers for Monday - Tony MacAlpine - orchestral
      Win.
      vanklef92
      opps-didnt finish before i posted haha What Breaks a Heart - Joe Satriani-instrumental The Riddle - Steve Vai- instrumental Blackbird - Alter Bridge - Hard Rock Dance With the Devil - Breaking Benjamin - Hard Rock Whales -Scale the Summit - Prog Metal Song of Solomon - Animals as Leaders - Prog Metal Aerith's Theme - Nubou Uematso - orchestral Flowers for Monday - Tony MacAlpine - orchestral
      DarkWolfXV
      Darn, probably my genres would be actually subgenres, since i dont really listen much outside metal, well, my way it would be: 1. Carcass - Corporeal Jigsore Quandary (Death Metal) 2. Suffocation - Infecting the Crypts (Death Metal) 3. Megadeth - Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Thrash Metal) 4. Slayer - Raining Blood (Thrash Metal) 5. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone (Stoner Doom) 6. Worship - Whispering Gloom (Funeral Doom) 7. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children (Grindcore) 8. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (Goregrind) Also i like shredding but only when done tastefully, no unneeded fretboard wankery, tastefully, i mean like Necrophagist - Fermented Offal Discharge solo.
      Rensa
      I like about 4 of the songs you chose, but that's okay
      ProgPunk
      Mr. Bungle (Avantgarde, Experimental) Minor Threat (Hardcore Punk) Primus (Experimental, Funk Metal...) Muse (Alternative, Neo Prog) Frank Zappa (Progressive Rock, Jazz, ...) Napalm Death (Grindcore) Tom Waits (Blues, Experimental) Sigur Rs (Ambient, Indie)
      whywefight
      Rensa wrote: I love your taste It's actually good that people post their favorite artists, but they should listen to other genres, not only rock and metal. There's Blues, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Classical, Opera and alot of more genres, why limit yourself to only 1?
      exactly... i like almost all of the bands listed here, but they are all in one genre, basically
      Rensa
      generalrook wrote: I think you mean to say the shredders that you have listen to have a poor choice of notes and you do not care for what you have heard from them so far. Fair?
      I just don't find it melodic. It can sound good when right notes are used.
      ovation08
      Metallica Smashing Pumpkins Creed Sevendust Iron Maiden Danzig Corrosion of Conformity Korn Tool
      Aralingh
      An overall terrible lesson, not sure it even qualifies as one. If anything, you should explore the genres you don't like to become well-rounded.
      THE ROZERS
      westley23j wrote: GlacierMan wrote: Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal) slipknot is definitely not death metal. and why am i seeing so many people spell it dream theatRE lately?! ive NEVER seen that on amy of their merchandise.
      It's The British English way of spelling the word, theatER is American
      vanklef92
      What Breaks a Heart - Joe Satriani-instrumental The Riddle - Steve Vai- instrumental Blackbird - Alter Bridge - Hard Rock Dance With the Devil - Breaking Benjamin - Hard Rock Whales -Scale the Summit - Prog Metal Song of Solomon - Animals as Leaders - Prog Metal Aerith's Theme - Nubou Uematso
      Thermon
      Megadeth (Metal) Black Sabbath (Metal) Pink floyd (Rock) Hendrix (Rock) Niccol Paganini (Classical) Frederic Mesnier (Classical/fingerstyle guitar) Pete Donohue (Folk) Dan Bern (Folk) I don't mean to sound elitist or anything, but I think what the author means to expand beyond rock, if that's all you listen to. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but I don't think he means "Dude, I love so much different music! I like punk rock, alternative rock, classic rock, and hard rock!" Those are all still ROCK. Just my take on what this author means. Nothing wrong with just liking rock of course, just my take on it
      westley23j
      and as for me.. 1--dream theater--octavarium 2--protest the hero--turn soonest to the sea 3--billy joel--leningrad 4--american head charge--loyalty 5--bullet for my valentine--just another star 6--mos def--zimzallabim 7--alterbridge--blackbird 8--joe satriani--always with me, always with you
      Valgoroth
      DarkWolfXV wrote: Jugulator_cro wrote: well rounded indeed I hope you wasnt sarcastic, because, in my opinion, this IS well rounded. I posted wide range of metal subgenres, its the music i like, i listened to pop, jazz, rock, blues, hip hop, dubstep and stuff, and these dont fit my tastes. Basically in blues, its probably only Firebird, because i like Bill Steer. Aside from metal, i like classical music.
      It's ok if metal is all that appeals to you, but you are not a well rounded musician, sorry.
      Rensa
      newgrounds wrote: Reading this has been a truly frustrating experience for me simply because half the people are posting their 8 favorites and almost all of you are listing bands from the same or very similar genres. Kudos to those who actually have a well-rounded list like Rensa's. I agree that having a broad range of genres and artists to learn from is important. I know many people who are very good in one area and never progress to reach their full potential because they are caught up practicing the same techniques and styles repeatedly. Branch out and experience you're full potential.
      Exactly bro
      DjangoUnstrung
      Guthrie Govan Django Reinhardt Allan Holdsworth Frank Zappa The Kinks, The Beatles, The Who Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Living Colour, Seal, The Clash Sly & the Family Stone Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, King Crimson Elton John, Wings Santana, ZZ Top Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Armstrong, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk Jimi, Stevie, Eric, B.B., Wolf, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, .38 special, The Police, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Queen Michael Lee Firkins, Jason Becker, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads, Bumblefoot Opeth, Marty Friedman, Jake E. Lee I tried to organize them somewhat. all metal bands have been excluded because their music blows and is juvenile and cheesy.
      ledzep777
      1. Led Zeppelin 2. Dave Matthews Band 3. Stevie Ray Vaughan 4. Snoop Dogg 5. Guns N Roses 6. John Mayer 7. Iron Maiden 8. Jimi Hendrix Experience 9. Pearl Jam 10. Planet X
      thePTOD
      Nothing Left- As I Lay Dying (metalcore) White Walls- BTBAM (prog metal) The Walk-Periphery (djent) All Gallant's Oath- Today I Caught The Plague (Prog rock/metal) Phhyric Victoria- Joe Satriani (instrumental rock) Stormwind-Tracy Bush (World of Wacraft classical score) Porcelain Wings- Miss May I (metalcore) Faust- The Human Abstract (neocalssical metal)
      Rensa
      I love your taste It's actually good that people post their favorite artists, but they should listen to other genres, not only rock and metal. There's Blues, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Classical, Opera and alot of more genres, why limit yourself to only 1?
      Prog_Metal_Head
      gypsyblues7373 wrote: I looove how the author used Cream as an example of blues. Cream is NOT blues!!! Even Clapton himself would tell you that. Cream is bluesy psychedelic hard rock, the main focus being rock. You may as well list AC/DC or Led Zeppelin as an example of your idea of "blues".
      Now I don't listen to Cream, so don't have any opinion of them, but it's kinda lame to slate someone for calling them Blues, and then saying they're "BLUESY psychedelic hard rock". I mean, can we get any more pretentious than that? Just call it "Hard Rock" next time. ;
      headbanger32594
      My most influential artists Opeth Porcupine Tree The Beatles Arsis The Black Dahlia Murder Okay that's all I can think of at the moment. Side note: Immortal Technique is an excellent rapper.
      generalrook
      I think you mean to say the shredders that you have listen to have a poor choice of notes and you do not care for what you have heard from them so far. Fair?
      GlacierMan
      Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal)
      Galfadez
      Radiohead- My Iron Lung (Alternative Rock) Radiohead- Exit Music (Alternative Rock) Radiohead- Climbing up the Walls (Experimental/Psychedelia) Radiohead- Paranoid Android (Experimental/Psychedelia) Radiohead- Everything in it's right place (Electronic) Radiohead- Kid A (Electronic) Radiohead- Bloom (Post Dubstep) Radiohead- Lotus Flower (Post Dubstep) ...just trollin', but still.
      newgrounds
      Reading this has been a truly frustrating experience for me simply because half the people are posting their 8 favorites and almost all of you are listing bands from the same or very similar genres. Kudos to those who actually have a well-rounded list like Rensa's. I agree that having a broad range of genres and artists to learn from is important. I know many people who are very good in one area and never progress to reach their full potential because they are caught up practicing the same techniques and styles repeatedly. Branch out and experience you're full potential.
      ConeShred
      Dinosaur Jr. - Sludgefeast (indie) Sleep - The Druid (stoner/doom metal) At the Drive-In - Ebroglio (post-hardcore) Tom Waits (singer-songwriter) Iron Lung (powerviolence) Tycho (electronic/IDM) Thelonius Monk (jazz)
      I hope you wasnt sarcastic, because, in my opinion, this IS well rounded. I posted wide range of metal subgenres, its the music i like, i listened to pop, jazz, rock, blues, hip hop, dubstep and stuff, and these dont fit my tastes. Basically in blues, its probably only Firebird, because i like Bill Steer. Aside from metal, i like classical music.
      That's probably the reason for his sarcasm. I could care less if you only listen to metal, but many people would view that as being very naive/close-minded/musically ignorant. The way that most musicians (including metal musicians) find inspiration to build their musical niche is by listening to tons of artists outside their genre. It's what brings about personality and uniqueness in music, and I'm pretty sure that this article would have said that had it been written with more passion for the topic.
      moyaklopez
      Pink Floyd Porcupine Tree G n' R "Satch" Sade Neil Diamond Ulver Anathema Skizoo (spanish metal band) Miles Davis
      MRoby
      Stuff thats shaped me the most? Hm. I'll go with albums too. Dream Theater - Images and Words & Octavarium(Prog Metal) Yes - Close to the Edge (Prog Rock) Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians (Minimal) Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto (Bossa Nova) Premiata Forneria Marconi - Per Un Amico (Italian Prog) Voivod - The Outer Limits (Prog Metal) St. Germain - Tourist (Deep House/Nu Jazz/Fusion) Pat Martino - Question and Answer (Jazz) Joe Satriani - Engines of Creation (Instrumental Rock) These are definitely my most influential albums in my composing.
      Redfinton22
      DarkWolfXV wrote: Darn, probably my genres would be actually subgenres, since i dont really listen much outside metal, well, my way it would be: 1. Carcass - Corporeal Jigsore Quandary (Death Metal) 2. Suffocation - Infecting the Crypts (Death Metal) 3. Megadeth - Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Thrash Metal) 4. Slayer - Raining Blood (Thrash Metal) 5. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone (Stoner Doom) 6. Worship - Whispering Gloom (Funeral Doom) 7. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children (Grindcore) 8. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (Goregrind) Also i like shredding but only when done tastefully, no unneeded fretboard wankery, tastefully, i mean like Necrophagist - Fermented Offal Discharge solo.
      Hahhahaahahaha I am freaking crying right now
      Redfinton22
      DarkWolfXV wrote: Darn, probably my genres would be actually subgenres, since i dont really listen much outside metal, well, my way it would be: 1. Carcass - Corporeal Jigsore Quandary (Death Metal) 2. Suffocation - Infecting the Crypts (Death Metal) 3. Megadeth - Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Thrash Metal) 4. Slayer - Raining Blood (Thrash Metal) 5. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone (Stoner Doom) 6. Worship - Whispering Gloom (Funeral Doom) 7. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children (Grindcore) 8. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (Goregrind) Also i like shredding but only when done tastefully, no unneeded fretboard wankery, tastefully, i mean like Necrophagist - Fermented Offal Discharge solo.
      Wait, are you serious?
      CoolMcAwesome
      vanklef92 wrote: Aerith's Theme - Nubou Uematso - orchestral
      great song. so many good songs from FF7, and video games in general.
      MonsterMetalMus
      GlacierMan wrote: Pink Floyd (Prog Rock) Early Metallica (Thrash) Megadeth (Thrash) Dream Theatre (Prog Metal) RHCP (Alternative/Funk sometimes) Nirvaa (Grunge) SLipknot (Deathmetal)
      You didn't seriously just call Slipknot death metal did you....?
      dr-g0nz0
      Good article. Mine would probably be: Between the Buried and Me (prog metal) Dir En Grey (prog metal) Tool (prog metal) Rammstein (industrial metal) Mars Volta (experimental prog) Anti Flag (punk) Bring Me the Horizon (fagcore haha) Thee Michelle Gun Elephants (Japanese rock) Nirvana (grunge) Frank Zappa (can't put a genre on it.)