Creativity isn’t a learned ability. Everyone is born with it, but as we age, we tend to smother it and beat it down until it ceases to shine. In guitar, creativity can mean the difference between the same old, boring chops, and new, interesting takes on styles and pieces.
So how exactly do we force our creativity to resurface?
We can’t. Creativity is almost like a magic, and it cannot be forced. That being said, we can do things to stimulate our creativity to help it shine bright once more.
Stop Listening To Your Favorite Bands.
Sounds a little whacky, but it is one of the best ways to get creativity to surface. Start listening to different forms of music. If you love jazz, start listening to some rock and roll or heavy metal. If you love country, start listening to some fusion. Chances are, the fact that you have been listening to the same style day in and day out has helped to contribute to a creative block. This hinders your progress to teach yourself to play guitar with creativity.
When you focus on a single style of music, all of the techniques and skills not used in that musical style become limitations, holding you to a single, narrow perspective on what is right to play and what is wrong to play.
You may not have noticed it, and therein lies the problem; we fall in love with a style so much that we don’t see how much it is actually pulling us away from other doors, other opportunities and techniques. Broadening you musical spectrum will not only allow you to be creative, but also help you to develop further within the styles that you love and improvise music like a pro.
Don’t Be Linear.
A guitarist who tends to fall into linear guitar scale patterns tends to have trouble breaking out of them. You melodies don’t always have to go in one direction. Try different patterns, and once you find a pattern you like, try playing it in different ways. This will help you mind get accustomed to outside thinking. Soon enough you will be naturally approaching rhythms and melodies with open possibilities.
If you right a riff, never think to yourself, this is good enough. In music there is no such thing as good enough; only good and bad. If you aren’t fully satisfied with a riff, dissect it. Find which notes you are happy with, which you aren’t. Then either remove the notes that you aren’t satisfied with, or change them around, trying them in different orders.
Falling into the good enough style of thinking is practically creative mutiny. Your creative side is telling you that you aren’t finished, that there is something wrong, but your practical or lazy side is vetoing it in favor of less work.
No matter how tempting it may seem to do less work rather than more, if you aren’t satisfied with a riff or a solo or even a chord, don’t allow your creativity to go unheard. If you do, you will simply be taking another step backwards, undoing all the work it took to unmute your creativity.