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Musical identity as a starting musician?

vinchan126

Active Member
Messages
73
It might be a meaningless rant, but I hope I can share some of my thinking I'm having these days, and hope to get some ideas from folks here.

I'm a recent graduate from somewhat famous contemporary music school in Los Angeles. When I started out as a student, I could never visualize myself as a musician. I only wanted to get better as a guitarist than making in the business.

I started playing guitar because I was huge fan of Nirvana and Eric Clapton(weird combination, I know). After a while in the school, I met many famous jazz musicians, and they introduced me to play more jazz. I sincerely loved every aspects of jazz, blues and rock.

Anyway, I'm now out of school, and I feel like I'm not specialized at anything. I do get few works in my neighbor's studio for whatever small stuffs, but I can't just figure out what I can do, Or what I want to do for the future.

I know I wanted to make music like my idols did, but I feel like I'm just goofing around whole bunch of styles, and not having those "speciality" in a certain area. And it's just frustrating.

Can anyone pleased share any similar thoughts??
 

woof*

Member
Messages
8,804
Pick a genre or two you like most, learn 100 songs, form a band....go out there and play a few years.
You will get good at it and write your own stuff at some point.
You gotta start somewhere...school or no school most do it this way...even Clapton.
 

wire-n-wood

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,684
Write songs, play them, sing them, record them. Play music that you want to play.
In my view, you don't start by trying to be "in" a genre. Start by expressing what you have to express.
 

speakerjones

Member
Messages
2,299
Being well versed in different styles can only benefit you, both as a working musician, and as you develop your own style.
 

Pitar

Member
Messages
1,858
It might be a meaningless rant, but I hope I can share some of my thinking I'm having these days, and hope to get some ideas from folks here.

I'm a recent graduate from somewhat famous contemporary music school in Los Angeles. When I started out as a student, I could never visualize myself as a musician. I only wanted to get better as a guitarist than making in the business.

I started playing guitar because I was huge fan of Nirvana and Eric Clapton(weird combination, I know). After a while in the school, I met many famous jazz musicians, and they introduced me to play more jazz. I sincerely loved every aspects of jazz, blues and rock.

Anyway, I'm now out of school, and I feel like I'm not specialized at anything. I do get few works in my neighbor's studio for whatever small stuffs, but I can't just figure out what I can do, Or what I want to do for the future.

I know I wanted to make music like my idols did, but I feel like I'm just goofing around whole bunch of styles, and not having those "speciality" in a certain area. And it's just frustrating.

Can anyone pleased share any similar thoughts??
I stopped copying other people's music (now days called covering) less than 2 years after starting. I was self taught and put myself through a rather accelerated regimen. By 2 years into it I was writing and had written many songs and melodies that I was pretty happy with. Then, inexplicably, I put the guitar down completely for 29 years and probably shouldn't have. In 2004 I picked it up again where I left off but quickly realized I enjoyed those old pop songs I trained on so I started a regimen of writing my own music and relearning the old stuff.

I'm not a musician. I don't consider myself one as I can't (won't learn to fluidly) sight read. So, I call myself a guitar player instead. If you do read music then you can pretty much fit into any session work with little technical trouble. That's a pretty useful skill. If you can embellish a written piece then you're even more marketable.

Developing your own musical identity demands a lot of experimentation and dedication on the strings and fretboard. I do that but not as much as I want to. I have developed a signature sound but now it requires a complementary lyrical effort that I'm not spirited to spend time with. I'd rather play the guitar with the time I have available than write poetry.

It's different for everyone. I had my influences and they are deep in me as a player even though I try to omit them from my writing. I don't listen to anyone's music anymore. I stopped in the mid 70's because that's about when the music that I enjoyed left the airways. It structured my own musical values and while I will play it frequently now my own sound has been developing enough to live on its own. Time is all it takes if you remain an active player.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,905
I know I wanted to make music like my idols did, but I feel like I'm just goofing around whole bunch of styles, and not having those "speciality" in a certain area. And it's just frustrating.

Well, no offense, but that's because you are. Like the others have said, if you want to become an 'artist', you need to make your own music. That means start to finish. You need to start writing, or at least collaborating. Get inside the music.

That said, there's nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades, master of nothing. Lots of guys do it, and enjoy doing it. Guess you just need to decide what you wanna do...
 

Sheherezadeh

Member
Messages
1,049
I'm the same way. I dabble in a lot of different styles, but I don't really have one in particular that I love so much that I want to pursue it to the exclusion of others. I'm the same way with instruments in generally, really, though I have spent a lot more time on some than others. I think this sort of habit lends itself to more generalist roles, like a session player, or maybe you'll find some like-minded individuals and develop some genre-bending material.
 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
5,562
Sounds like you have a good start. A good idea for the next step is to have a plan. This applies to most things in life. There is the famous quote: "If you aim at nothing, you succeed every time." Look at what people you consider successful with a music career have done. Several local pro guitar players that I have worked with do know a large variety of styles. Most importantly, look for mentors & remember there is a saying "Don't take financial advice from broke people". Well, don't take advice on how to succeed in music from people who haven't done it.

Hey - I think influences of Nirvana & Clapton can help you be unique when you combine them. Rock On!
 




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