So I hope you checked out my first post in this new ”One thought can produce a million vibrations” lesson series. I explained my thought process behind this new set of lessons and the way you can apply simple concepts, thoughts and ideas into your music and how you can be constantly evolving and developing these ideas during practice and performance.
If you haven’t checked out CONCEPT #1, please do so now or you may not get the most out of #2 or the upcoming lessons in the series.
REMEMBER, these ideas seem simple and easy to grasp but it is your job to develop them and take them where you want to go!
SO, CONCEPT #2:
”If you don’t play what you sing, and sing what you play, you’re practicing, but you’re not expressing yourself.”
NOW, this is not a rule or a fact! That’s why these are concepts and not laws.
BUT… How many times have you played a solo along to a loop, backing track or recording in your practice time or even during a performance where you just play what you’ve played a thousand times? I DO IT ALL THE TIME!
Sometimes I get bored of my own playing. Sometimes I’m literally thinking ”Oh, here I go again. There’s that Maj7 Chord, here comes that same phrase I’ve milked to death”
Now, try this. Record a loop of a Eb Major 7 chord (you can choose any chord but lets just do this together)
Listen to that chord. What you hearing?
Its making me feel happy.
SO I start singing a bass line. NOT PLAYING! SINGING…
Music comes from you, not your instrument. The whole point of this concept is to put away the patterns, fingerings and licks that our basses/guitars enforce into our hands and ears due to their symmetrical nature.
Don’t think: ”what would I play on my bass?” Just sing a simple melodic line that accompanies the vibe and feel of the chord.
Now play it on your bass and mimic the tone of your voice. Don’t try sound like your favorite bass player for once. Try sound like your own musician.
The same concept and thought process behind creating that line, is what guys like George Benson do when they play what they sing. Check out this video from Benson’s Instructional DVD, Now see how he sings phrases before he plays or in unison with his instrument. He hears music first then he plays or he sings with his voice and his instrument mimics his ideas simultaneously.
The secret is, whether that voice is heard or not, the greats are always singing.
Try and get the distance between conceiving a line in your mind and playing it on your instrument to happen within a millisecond. The whole concept is about playing your instrument in unison with your voice so that your instrument becomes your voice.
This will improve your ear and will bring the real you out of your instrument. The whole process is one of learning and if it feels difficult along the way then be honest with yourself. Can you hear melodies over major chords and simple progressions? If not, then you need to start with just singing triads and doing some simple ear training. Eventually you want to start trying out this concept on more complex chords and progressions. If you couple this concept with motivic and rhythmic development ideas.IE sing something and when you hear something you really love, then develop that idea in the moment. Just go for it!
Prove me right! Try recording a loop and just play what you would normally play. I’m not even there and I know you are thinking about scales and chord tones and this lick and this fill.
NOW try listen to the loop and start playing along in unison to your voice, whether you choose to use your inner voice, to bust out like Benson or maybe just mumble along to get your phrasing down that’s cool. I guarantee you, if you play what you sing with conviction, you will be a happy man!