Here’s something you’ve probably wondered about…
Why is it that some guitar players can make the guitar sound so good you can’t get enough…
While others (maybe even you) sound like…well…someone trying to play guitar?
When you “get” what I’ll be sharing with you today, it will be one of the biggest transformational “mental shifts” you’ll ever have in your musical life…
…Transforming you from just a “guitar player” into a musician people want to listen to.
Let’s dive in.
First, we need to consider one fundamental thing:
Music is a language
Reread that sentence carefully.
What’s the “function” of language? What purpose does it serve?
Language is a “communication” tool.
In English, we use words to communicate ideas.
In music, we use sounds to communicate feelings.
Regardless of “what” we use to communicate – whether with words, sounds, hand gestures, etc…
The point is this:
Your goal is to communicate something
So. Hold that thought and we’ll come back to it in just a second.
I want you to imagine you’ve just met two guys while standing in line at a coffee shop, and you discovered you all have something in common…
You all play guitar.
With time on your hands, you decide grab a table together and chat.
Guy #1 (let’s call him “Chet”) is sitting to your right. And guy #2 (John) is sitting to your left.
You start talking about what kind of guitar you play – describing the color and the sound…
And after a while, you notice something.
With just about every sentence, Chet seems to cut you off and say something about his guitar…
…how great the color of his guitar is… how great his guitar sounds… how he’s going to buy a new one soon…
You start to realize, no matter what you say, Chet’s in his own head. He’s not really listening to you at all.
On the other hand, John looks you in the eye, nods, waits for you to finish talking, and responds appropriately:
“Wow, that sounds like a nice guitar you have.”
You like John.
He listens to you. His responses are thoughtful and keep the conversation going. And you listen to what he has to say.
After 10 or 20 minutes, you start to tune out Chet completely.
After all… he hasn’t said anything worth listening to.
But not John. With him, the conversation keeps getting better and better.
You even feel like you could talk to John all day.
And as you check your watch, you almost have… two hours went by and it only seemed like 10 minutes.
Now, haven’t you met someone like Chet before?
Someone who isn’t listening to you, repeatedly talks over you, and doesn’t really care what you’re saying?
Unfortunately, most guitar players are “Chets”.
Let me explain…
Every “musical situation” – a jam session, a song – is like a conversation
Similar to how Chet wasn’t really listening, but instead always thinking about what he could say next…
Most guitar players are wrapped up in thinking “What can I play next”…
And because aren’t really listening to the musical conversation going on around them, whatever they play isn’t very relevant to that conversation…
…So as a listener (someone in the conversation) you tune them out – because they aren’t “saying” anything meaningful.
Here’s what you need to remember:
In music, it’s not what you play, it’s what you say
Why is it that Eric Clapton, BB King, David Gilmour, John Mayer, etc. can make you feel such strong emotions with only a handful of notes?
Because it’s not what you “play”…
It’s what you say.
Like John at the coffee shop, great guitar players listen to the context of the conversation, then respond (through their guitar) with something meaningful to say.
They’re “speaking” to you.
They’re great “musical” conversationalists.
They say the right thing at the right time. And because they regularly have something meaningful to say…
Sounds like spoken language, doesn’t it?
It’s not an accident.
As a musician, if you want people to want to hear you play, you need to get good at “saying” something meaningful with your guitar
And that’s a skill you can learn.
Actively listen to the conversation (the musical situation) you’re in before you play anything…
Just listen and see what comes to mind. Something will.
Then responding by expressing that “opinion” through your guitar – which comes out in the form of music.
Easier said than done? Yes.
But that’s your goal.
And in order to get better at it, and eventually get so good it’s effortless…
It’s your job to develop your “expression tools” such as rhythm skills, scale and chord knowledge, and dexterity
And yes, even YOU can do it when you learn how. Anyone can.
Regardless of how good your rhythm is…
Regardless of how many notes you can play…
Regardless of how much you “know” about scales, chords, or music theory…
You’ll always have eager listeners if you remember that it starts with one thing:
“It’s not what you play…
It’s what you say.”
Please share this article with friends who will appreciate it.