Abstaining From Listenening to Others' Music?

Alb1441

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Has anyone ever made a conscious effort to not listen to music as a past time to sort of clear your head and encourage your own unique playing voice?

I've found myself several times basically recreating existing songs only to later realize that's what I am playing
 

ieso

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3,375
I've heard of players (EVH, for example) who claim to pay no attention (or little) to what's going on around them. I suppose if was writing, recording, and performing constantly there wouldn't be much time left to absorb the ideas of others.
 

stevel

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14,624
This is the problem most beginners have - not listening to enough music - they think they can "develop their own voice" by 'not being influenced by anyone else". Instead, they never learn to play very well.

This is like the "don't know theory" or "didn't study music" claims that a lot of artists make. There's a difference between creating your own voice out of taking what you feel are the best bits of all your influences - which is what the really great players do - versus thinking charting your own path is an end in itself because you have been misled to believe that's what you need to do.
 

JosephZdyrski

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3,276
I've heard of players (EVH, for example) who claim to pay no attention (or little) to what's going on around them. I suppose if was writing, recording, and performing constantly there wouldn't be much time left to absorb the ideas of others.
Kinda ironic considering how many people have attempted to sound like him.
 

RLD

Silver Supporting Member
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7,855
2 different issue here...it is well known that EVH worshiped Clapton and studied his solos note for note...as many do, or should do from their idols when learning.
After you find your voice, then you can block stuff out to try and refine your style which is not unheard of.
 

JmpOne

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524
Has anyone ever made a conscious effort to not listen to music as a past time to sort of clear your head and encourage your own unique playing voice?

I've found myself several times basically recreating existing songs only to later realize that's what I am playing
I really wouldn't do that. I would/do sometimes consciously try to listen to musical styles or artists that haven't been part of my listening diet to date though. These days, given the algorithms online presenting you with new stuff related to your previous listening, it's very easy to slip into narrow listening habits. I don't think you can escape being influenced, but you can try to curate the process to an extent.
 

JosephZdyrski

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3,276
I think I did this for too long lol.

it’s like a lot of things in life a healthy balance is always best ime.
 

vintagelove

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2,468
I did that for a long time, stopped listening to other guitar players in particular.

Second this, I haven’t listened to guitar players in a LONG time.

The exception being holdsworth. I’ll sometimes listen to him on half speed just to try to get his unique vocabulary into my ear.


That being said I will analyze some of the greats comping work from time to time, but even then, it’s less time than I’ve studied keyboard players, etc.



I do spend a fair amount of time transcribing horn players, and an occasional piano player. However, I’ve always felt once you reach a certain level of proficiency, developing your own unique vocabulary is the number one goal.



Perhaps the highest honor a musician can achieve is being recognizable from just a handful of notes.
 

Guitardave

Member
Messages
9,998
Has anyone ever made a conscious effort to not listen to music as a past time to sort of clear your head and encourage your own unique playing voice?

I've found myself several times basically recreating existing songs only to later realize that's what I am playing
Try it and see what you think. You might also try avoiding musical styles similar to the genre you are writing in.

Most of the songwriters I know tend to listen to a boatload of different music.

In general I think having your own "voice" is something you discover and no amount of external influences will stop it from happening. But they will inform and shape it...and odds are some parts of what you listen to will find a way into your own creations.
 
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451
There is a book called The Artists Way, it’s a book on bring more creative, especially those who are stuck and not creating. One of the exercises is to not listen to any music or consume any media (books, movies etc) It does work. Your brain really just starts throwing out stuff. I did it long enough to know it works. Might not be for everyone.
 

thecornman

Member
Messages
2,343
Michael Schenker claims he does not listen to other music at all and has not since some time in the 70's! He certainly has his on style. For the last few years I have not listened to much guitar music and find it has helped me find my own way more.
 

PaulHudgins

Member
Messages
558
This is the problem most beginners have - not listening to enough music - they think they can "develop their own voice" by 'not being influenced by anyone else". Instead, they never learn to play very well.

This is like the "don't know theory" or "didn't study music" claims that a lot of artists make. There's a difference between creating your own voice out of taking what you feel are the best bits of all your influences - which is what the really great players do - versus thinking charting your own path is an end in itself because you have been misled to believe that's what you need to do.

I 100% agree, most musicians don't expand their listening and listen to challenging things. My Music Composition professor gave me a list of things to listen to when I was in college my first semester. After a year or two those things that at first sounded chaotic, dissonant and things I couldn't understand became interesting and beautiful. Take those things that catch your ear from all styles and genres throw them into the blender and and at the end of the day you will have your own way of thinking and playing. It may not be 100% unique or recognizable to you, but it will be your own voice and you can keep constantly evolving.
 

Neer

Member
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12,553
Absolutely. I stopped listening to other steel players quite a while ago. It keeps me from getting fatigued on the sound, first of all, and also keeps me from being corrupted. When I was getting my feet wet, I listened endlessly.

i do, however, listen to plenty of other music.
 

GearPagent

Member
Messages
468
More important than not listening for a while is to save a few minutes now and then for actual silence or quiet. Not just habitually stuffing your ear holes with more podcasts or YouTube or whatever to fill up the mental space and time.

Then when you come back to music you have a chance to be slightly more conscious and focused, if you’re into that kind of thing.
 




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