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Breaking Out of the Rut – How to Stay Inspired

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How to Find Inspiration in Your Music

If you have been playing music for a while, there is a strong possibility that you may have found yourself in a bit of a learning or performance rut. This can happen to anyone, but here are a few things you can try to break out of that rut and keep things interesting.

Listen and play outside of your style

If you play and listen mostly to rock, when was the last time you listened to Mozart? If jazz is your thing, have you tried to play a country song recently? If you play a lot, there is a possibility your musical word has become a bit insular. Playing in and listening to other genres, even just occasionally, can jar you out of your artistic rut.

Try a different instrument

You don’t have to commit to learning a new instrument. You can simply pick it up and noodle around with it for a while just for fun, without even doing it “correctly.” On the other hand, you may decide to actually learn how to play a new instrument properly. This can not only break you out of your rut but you may be able to integrate your new knowledge into how you play your primary instrument. Give it a try!

Experience more live music

Recordings can be wonderful, but they are no substitute for live performances. Check out the entertainment calendar in your neck of the woods, and get out there. As mentioned above, it does not have to be something presented in your own genre. It could even be a play or a musical. Live performance is where art truly lives and thrives.

If you are already gigging as a live player, check out open mic nights and open jams. Get yourself on stage as much as you can, especially if it gives you the opportunity to play with musicians you have never played with before. You never know what might develop as a result of just putting yourself out there.

Read biographies and autobiographies

Another great source for inspiration is reading biographies and autobiographies of the great musicians. Start by reading the autobiography of your guitar hero or favorite piano master. Branch out to bios of other musicians whom you respect. Another great idea is to pick out the story of a respected musician whose work you’re not too familiar with, then listening to that musician’s music while reading his or her story.

While we are on the subject of books, there are many self-help books that in themselves can help you break free from your mental rut. Check a few of those out if you are so inclined.

Set down your instrument for a while

This may seem like “giving in and giving up,” but the intent here is for you to give yourself a temporary break. Try another artistic pursuit for a bit (write a short story, work backstage at a local theatre or perhaps volunteer for a school artistic program), and then come back to your music refreshed and ready to go.

Breaking out

We all need to break free from a rut sometimes. Hopefully these ideas will help you get inspired again.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664 or email: guitarman.glenn@gmail.com

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