Broadening your musical perspective

As a guitarist, I as you probably do, really enjoy listening to – surprise, surprise! – guitar music. Some Julian Bream, Williams, cranking out Segovia’s old recordings, Sharon Isbin, Slava Grigoryan, a bit of Milos, Marcin Dylla and so on.

This is all well and good, but just listening to our own kind, as it were, can become a little bit insular and a little bit limiting. Yes, sure we need to reference how others play things, enjoy new or not frequently heard guitar repertoire and even enjoy the ol’ classics of the instrument.

But as MUSICIANS we really should open ourselves up to the whole wonderful world of music that is all around us! Be it styles, genres, approaches, instrumentations or orchestrations, there is a lot to be learnt by listening to and soaking in what other musicians do, how they play and their particular approaches to making meaningful music. You may just learn something that you can bring across to your own playing – “ooh I really want to get that Jacqueline de Pre cello kinda sound in that bit there”. Or something along those lines anyway.

So where to begin?

Wherever in the world and on which instrument you like! Is up to you!

Some good starting points though in case you’re stuck for ideas:

What about instruments kind of related to the guitar? A bit of oud perhaps?

Other stringed instruments? Some classical Indian sitar?

Or how about something a little closer to the western tradition? Can’t go far wrong with some lovely Chopin nocturnes….

Or perhaps some orchestral music?

What about something completely different? Jazz, klezmer, tango nuevo, electronica?

Anything goes! Don’t limit yourself!  No music is inherently “good” or “bad” Yes, I know some would argue otherwise but really that’s cultural and social influence and …. I’m getting off the topic here. That’s something for another day!

So yes. Go forth and explore the musical world and see how it may fit, enlarge and enrich your own guitar playing! You never know, you might just like it!

How do you go about seeking outside influences on your playing? How have you incorporated things that are left of centre into your music making? I’d love to know!!

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