New Year, New You? Hell, what's wrong with the old you? By now, most people have probably abandoned their New Year's resolutions, anyway! But for a musician, the story can be a little bit different: instead of making - and trying to stick to - some resolutions, why not just trying something different once or twice? Here's five things you could do in 2015, which could change your music forever!
Do you feel stuck in a rut, musically? Can't come up with any new ideas? Or maybe just fancy creating something different? Every musician goes through this, and even acts who seemingly have been doing the same thing for decades, like The Rolling Stones, will from time to time do some of the things we'll recommend here... so take note of our Top 5 Tips to Shake-Up Your Music This Year!
1) LEARN A NEW INSTRUMENT
When we say "learn", we don't mean to "master" it, but simply to try your hand at something new which you have never played before. If you play guitar, get a cheap keyboard or synthesizer! If you're a bassist, why not get yourself an ukulele? If you play piano... get an acoustic guitar! Check our Buying Guides for some more ideas.
Why? Playing a new instrument can give you fresh new musical ideas. And, like we said before, you don't even need to know how to play it as well as your main instrument... the simplicity of what you play could even serve as the basis for new songs!
Examples: Ozzy Osbourne had no idea how to use his Moog properly, but still managed to come up with ideas to use one on some classic Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tracks. And Jack White is no Elton John, but still managed to write great tracks on the piano, such as This Protector.
2) TRY A NEW RECORDING TECHNIQUE
Many artists find that changing how they usually record songs can help them creatively. On our recent Top 5 Unusual Recording Tips article, we showed five ways you could do that. Pick one of them, see how that works out!
Why? By simply using a new technique you may discover new sounds, or get inspired!
Exemples: Keith Richards came up with his own, original "evil" acoustic guitar sound heard in Street Fighting Man by experimenting with a different way to record his guitar.
3) DISCOVER A NEW STYLE OF MUSIC
It's easy to listen to the same type of music again and again. That's ok, we all got our favourites, but, as a musician, it's very important to keep an open mind and discover new musical styles. So get on Spotify, Youtube etc and explore new genres you've never heard before!
Why? It may inspire and influence you even if you don't play that particular type of music!
Examples: Led Zeppelin were always hugely influenced by the British folk of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham who, amongst other things, inspired Jimmy Page to experiment with guitar tunings. And the jazz improvisations of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman inspired the rock'n'roll abstractions of Sonic Youth, even though what they play is not jazz!
4) JAM WITH SOMEONE NEW
Whether you're a solo artist or in a band, try to get someone new to play with you, just for a jam session, or to write a song! Hey, it doesn't even need to be human... as Pink Floyd showed us on Live at Pompeii!
Why? It can push you harder, it can inspire you, it can be challenging... and it can be fun! You might come up with ideas you wouldn't have had otherwise.
Examples: So many artists love collaborating with others, be it to write together or to just play one song at one gig. Rolling Stones played live with Jack White, and Elton John played live with John Lennon... and they never recorded together! A great recent example was when David Byrne joined forces with young new talent St. Vincent to record a whole album, which was unlike anything either of them had done before.
5) PLAY A GIG EVERY MONTH
Do whatever you can to perform in front of people at least once a month! No big deal - get in touch with local bands and promoters, busk on the street, play open mic nights... or simply put a gig in your own flat in front of a few friends!
Why? If you make music, it's great to play it in front of an audience, get feedback from them. You'll make new fans, some new friends and may even improve as a musician, by making yourself dedicate some more time to your music, practising ahead of a performance.
Examples: Every artist you ever loved!
By Ivan Silva