Creativity is very important in your everyday pursuit in becoming a songwriting musician. Even if you are not writing original music, you still have to be creative in your interpretation of the piece you are performing. For example, if you are to play one of Heitor Villa Lobos etudes for Guitar, each persons interpretation of the piece will be different and sometimes significantly different. You should train to do this on purpose. Can you lift some of the notes off the page and make them pierce the heart of the listener? Can you make the section that is otherwise dull, stand out in your performance of it?

These things should be taken into consideration when writing and performing music. Here in this session I am going to give you a different type of creativity exercise. This exercise will help you in becoming more proficient on your instrument. You can use lead guitar or rhythm guitar or both for this exercise. The exercise is simple, come up with 5 different ideas to beat of the drum track below.

Before you listen to it, take out a piece of paper and a pencil and jot down some keys that you like playing in. Maybe you could even write what type of emotion you want to convey or what type of feel you want your riff idea to have. You could also just start playing along to the beat and let her rip right off the bat. I do this a lot until I’ve got something good. The hard part is coming up with different ideas that are ALL good.

Heres the drum track. This is a loop from Toontracks’ Rhythme Sauvage by Mario Duplantier of Gojira. He is one of the best heavy-metal drummers around. No need to worry if you are not a heavy metal fan, its just a drum beat and you could do this to any drum beat on the internet you can find. I use these because they were recorded professionally and sound great.


Things to keep in mind as you do so.

Keep them short and relatively simple. You want to be able to record these suckers right away if you had to and for them to sound good. Why do I say this? I say this because you can always come back and beef it up. If you have a lackluster riff because you can’t execute it well yet its not so good. But if you have a simple riff that you can capitalize on, then you are onto something and have a higher chance of you coming back to it and coming up with something great.

Lets say you do come up with a massive, epic, metal, head-banging idea, what do you do? 1 thing I like to do is to have my iPhone handy to take voice memos of the riff. I either speak the idea into the phone or I either record it as best as I can so I can come back to it at a later date.

If you do this type of creative exercise on a regular basis you will surely become…insanely creative. Creativity is a muscle that must be flexed, trained and nurtured.

See you next time…