A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin, and it blew my mind. In it, Roam provides a complete toolkit for solving complex business problems. So I did what any guitar geek would do, I immediately borrowed the lessons I learned from The Back of the Napkin and applied them to learning to play the guitar, and the results have been staggering!
Your Influences Define Your Sound
Choose your musical influences wisely because they will define your sound. Whether you’re moving towards your influences or away from them, the people who inspire you will have the largest impact on your playing.
Turn Your Practices Into Projects
A project—by definition—has a beginning, a middle, and an end with desired results. For example, maybe you want to improve your ability to improvise over major chords. Great! That’s your desired goal, so how do you get started?
Well, go back to your influences. Which one of your influences was a master of the soloing over major chord progressions? For a lot of guitar players, it’s Dickey Betts, so it makes sense to start there.
Create A Deadline with a Recording Date
Once you’ve identified your influence, give yourself a deadline. Remember all projects have endings and desired outcomes. In this example, your goal is to get more comfortable improvising over major chords. You’ve already identified your influence as Dickey Betts, so you’ll need to learn some of his licks or transcribe a solo note-for-note.
The key takeaway here is to begin building a vocabulary directly from your influences with a deadline. It doesn’t matter if the deadline is a month or two weeks, you should set a deadline, write it on your calendar, and be prepared to record yourself at the end of the deadline.
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