Listening to Music

I think one of the most underrated aspects of playing the guitar is listening to music.

Practicing scales is great. Understanding music theory is great. Learning to play complex jazz standards is great.

But there’s something about listening to music – it opens up your mind to new melodic and harmonic possibilities, it forces your brain to analyze note passages, and it inspires you to play more, and better.

Now, listening to ANY music isn’t going to cut it. I’m talking about good music, performed by great players. There’s nothing wrong with listening to mediocre musicians from time to time. In fact, many great vocalists and songwriters are proficient at an instrument (often guitar or piano) and can accompany themselves quite well. But that doesn’t mean it’s worth analyzing and critically listening to. If you love listening to Bob Dylan for his songwriting prowess, more power to you! But don’t expect to glean some life changing guitar licks when listening to his albums.

Instead, seek out music that is high quality, and it will challenge you to become high quality in your playing. It will expand your musical vocabulary, raise your musical standards, and make you a better guitarist.

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