Inspiration can take many forms. Our favorite bands and artists are usually good for a spark (or a lightning bolt) that jumpstart our creative juices.
When that motivation doesn’t come, though, it’s easy to feel trapped in a cage with that one lame guitar lick you can’t seem to stop playing. At times like these, we should look for alternative forms of inspiration to help us escape from the jail that is writer’s block.
I’ve found a few things that work for me, including putting my guitar down and leaving the creative space completely. But what if that doesn’t work? I struggled to discover an answer to this question, but I think I finally found something that works, not just once, but consistently.
Listening to and studying unique chord progressions has helped me tap into a side of my musicianship I normally don’t get to use. It’s not that I don’t want to use it; my musical tendencies simply steer me in different directions. By forcing myself out of my comfort zone, which I’ve alluded to in many of my lessons, I’m able to break down the barriers that keep me from making meaningful music. I’m even able to make music I didn’t think was inside me.
In the video below, I’ve put together a group of chord changes and voicings that have resonated with me. I learned these from piano etudes, orchestral pieces or something else. The point is, I translated non-guitar music to the guitar, and it proved to be an interesting source of encouragement.
I think learning these new sounds will be the first mile marker on the road to taking back your creative freedom.
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.