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Listen To Music And Improve Your Musicianship At The Same Time

By Jake Willmot

If you like a song, chances are you are listening to it more than once. I know that when I like a song, I listen to it multiple times, until I almost get bored of it. When you are listening to a song however, you can do so much more than listen to a great song you like. But not many musicians think like this and they miss the opportunity. The few who do are advanced but even a lot of advanced people do not do this.

That doesn’t mean you have to be advanced in order to do this, some things you can do even as a complete beginner. Okay, the better you are the more you can do to improve your musicianship skills but most people do not do this at all and they miss the opportunity to grow! 

What do you do when you are listening to a song. Well in a nutshell it is this:


If you like a song, either grow your skills from it or get some insight from listening to it.

There are many ways to do this, and you may be able to think of things later that I don’t mention in this article in which case good. But here are some examples on how to do this.


1) Improve your aural skills while listening to your favourite songs

When you are listening to a song, assuming the song is not too hard beyond what you can play or too fast for the ear to process, try and figure it out by ear. If you are a complete beginner wait a while but if you are a beginner and have been playing a few months try and figure out the first or last note of a melody. If you are more advanced figure out a part of the song or try to figure out the entire thing. If there is a chord progression, figure out what each chord is using your guitar if you have to.

Try this even if you are not that good at this, you will get better as you do this more and try to figure out less than the full song in the beginning if this is harder for you and make it more challenging as you go.


2) Improve your creativity by seeing how music theory is applied in the song

As you are figuring out a song, or if you are taught a song or whatever the case is, analyse it. If you see that the song changes key, what key does in change to in relation to the original key? What time signature is used, does it change at some point? What rhythms are used a particular melody or chord strumming pattern? Any rests? Any playing in between the beat or any other kind of syncopation? Are there any music theory concepts that have been used in this song or piece of music? If so how has it been applied? All of this gives you examples of using the music theory you have learned. This can help you see how music theory is not a bunch of useless rules and how to be creative with it.


3) Improve your songwriting by analysing the song and how it makes you feel

Listen to a song and say in one emotional word how it makes you feel. If you listen to a song that is really sad, go through the song you have learned and analyse at least 1 or even all of these things:








Go through one of these things to get started and note down what happens in this song. If a song is sad and you find that for the melody it is slow and uses very few notes on the piano, maybe that will give you an idea of how to write a song that is sad. Chances are you won’t want to play fast when you want to write something sad.

You can improve your songwriting this way.

About The Author:


Jake Willmot likes three things: playing guitar, pizza and giving guitar instruction in Exmouth. His influences include bands like Pantera, Guns n Roses, Megadeth and a lot of guitar players who are in different styles such as Stanley Jordan and Shawn Lane. He likes to play fast but also likes to chill out every once in a while with some mellow ballads.

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