Learn More Music Theory - Get More Creative

You can only play the same lick over and over so many times until you start to lose your mind. So how does one avoid this? How do you start to think outside the box when it feels like you've already played everything you feel capable of? The answer is easy! Keep reading…

If you are someone who plays music, it is very common to go through periods where who feel as though you aren't capable of creating anything new. This is going to most likely be the case for someone who is brand new to music. If you don't know much, how are you supposed to create? Once you learn some chords is when you are able to start potentially piecing together your own song little by little, and is also when you first start to feel that creative flow.

However, if a few chords is all you have to work with, there is only so much you can create. This is when you will probably start to feel like you don't have what it takes. In actuality, your brain is simply bored of repeatedly doing the same thing. I know many musicians who let this state of mind stop them from pursuing music when all they really needed was to learn a bit of theory to keep that creativity flowing.

You may have heard from many nay-sayers that theory stifles creativity. I am here to tell you that is not the case.

It's these same people who probably view music theory as a list of boring rules that need to be followed. I like to think of it more as a place to go for new ideas and concepts. Pick one theory topic and in it you will find an abundance of new ideas for tunes. I understand why musicians probably aren't interested in sitting down in front of a heavy book for hours just reading when they could be playing. Though the thing is, that's not what you should be doing anyway. The best way to learn is by reading a few pages and then picking up your instrument to immediately play around and see how you can apply what you read about.

Let's look at "sequencing" for example. This is the concept in which you play the same thing except starting on different notes of a scale. Confused? Don't worry, I will explain more in depth in the following videos. Often times people will apply sequencing to diatonic scales (such as major and minor scales). However, this concept can also be used on pentatonic scales and chords. How? Watch to find out.

Note: The following videos can be viewed in any order, so feel free to begin with the one that interests you more!

Applying Sequencing To Pentatonic Scales

You will be able to hear right away why so many people use the concept of sequencing on pentatonic scales. Use it to create a signature rock lick, or to find your own style with it:

Applying Sequencing To Chords

If you are looking for new ideas for songs, try applying the concept of sequencing to chords. It will provide you with many chord progressions you probably haven't tried before:

Diatonic Scales

Phrases on a diatonic scale is what sequencing was originally applied to. You can hear examples of how this sounds at about 6:00 in this video. I also go more in depth on this subject on my "Master of the Modes" course.

What's Next?

Don't try to take this on all at once. Find a couple examples in my videos that you are excited about and start your experimentation there. Then when you are ready for more you can take another look through my website or contact me if you have any questions!

Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio