Music has many rules. Most of the time these rules provide invaluable scaffolding that supports the development of emotive ideas. Sometimes, however, the familiar framework gets in the way and stifles creativity. My jazz guitar coach often used to espouse the virtues of deliberately limiting your options to encourage a creative fluency. He’d say things like “now you can only use the D and G strings” or “riff on 3s, 7s and 9s only” or “play a substitute for every other chord”. It’s tricky of course because it means you’ve got think more instead of relying on well-rehearsed patterns. Having said that, the result is usually worth it. They say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ so why not consider deliberately constraining your choices and see what that inspires for you.

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AuthorTrevor Lindars