Music Theory Tips To Get Your Creativity Flowing

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Creating your very first melody on the guitar is like finding your first love. It’s hard to ever move on from it. But when it comes to music, if you keep playing the same thing over and over again, how are you supposed to grow? At the same time, where are you to find new ideas?

As a musician, you can expect to go through a few dry spells where you feel like you are incapable of writing music. This is especially true for people who are beginners. If you don’t know your instrument yet, what are you going to possibly create? It’s not until you learn at least a few chords that you begin to understand chord progressions and perhaps even write a beginning of a new tune.

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But soon you will find that a few chords will only take you so far. So in order to continue feeling creative, you need to learn some new things to inspire you. It’s when you stop learning that your brain gets bored and starts questioning why you are doing any of this stuff in the first place. It is key to remember that you are probably doing this for fun, and that learning IS fun.

I’ve seen first hand many musicians that give up on their craft because they felt stuck and like they just weren’t good enough. The truth is, what they really needed was to learn a bit more theory and to continue developing their sound. There are lot’s of people out there who will try to tell you that music theory ruins creativity, and I’m here to tell you they are completely wrong.

It’s these same people who probably view music theory as a list of boring rules that need to be followed. I like to think of it more as a place to go for new ideas and concepts. Pick one theory topic and in it you will find an abundance of new ideas for tunes. I understand why musicians probably aren’t interested in sitting down in front of a heavy book for hours just reading when they could be playing. Though the thing is, that’s not what you should be doing anyway. The best way to learn is by reading a few pages and then picking up your instrument to immediately play around and see how you can apply what you read about.

Let’s look at "sequencing" for example. This is the concept in which you play the same thing except starting on different notes of a scale. Confused? Don’t worry, I will explain more in depth in the following videos. Often times people will apply sequencing to diatonic scales (such as major and minor scales). However, this concept can also be used on pentatonic scales and chords. How? Watch to find out.

(The following videos can be viewed in any order, so feel free to begin with the one that interests you more!)

Applying Sequencing To Diatonic Scales

Sequencing was originally meant to be applied to diatonic scales. I will go over many examples of this at 6:00 in the following video. If you want more beyond this you can find a step-by-step guide through many more examples in my "Master of the Modes" course.

Chords

Need a new chord progression to write a song with? Then I would recommend applying the concept of sequencing to chords. Watch the following video to find out how to do this:

Pentatonic Scales

Looking for some new ideas for soloing? Applying sequencing to pentatonic scales will not only give you that classes rock solo sound you are familiar with, but also many new ones too. Definitely one of my favourites:

Next Step

Take your time with all this. Find one or two of your favourite concepts that I talked about and enjoy the process of learning. If you are looking to continue learning more, check out my website or feel free to email me!

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about music theory for guitar and visit his YouTube channel for more videos

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