The Importance of Creativity

Do you struggle to compose your own music or improvise freely? Do you wonder if creativity is something you have to be born with? Fear not! Getting your creative juices flowing is an easy task and once you get the ball rolling gets easier and easier.

A common misconception among musicians is that creativity is something you’re born with and can’t develop. You’re either an artist with the gift or doomed to struggle through life without it. I’m here to tell you that this myth is totally false! Creativity is just another skill and area of your playing that can be developed with frequent practice. One of the reasons that this myth has developed is that musicians follow a linear learning method that sees them spend years building their repertoire and technique to get it to a high level before ever attempting improvisation or creativity. As a result players with high skill level feel like total beginners again because they are getting thrown into unfamiliar territory and are completely overwhelmed.

We can speculate as to the cause of this. It’s easy to point the finger at classical music and blame it’s stranglehold on the musical education industry & lack of focus on creativity as the cause of the problem. We can even take a swing at conventional music education theories that follow a linear learning approach and propose that you need to be good at A/B/C before you can attempt X/Y/Z… You can’t really blame musical educators for regurgitating this because that’s they way they learned and nobody has ever tried anything different. 

The reality is that you can teach a beginner guitarist how to improvise and be creative from their very first lesson. It is as simple as giving them four notes and asking them to arrange them in different orders while you play chords underneath them. This is something they can do right away and doesn’t require any great technical ability to achieve and is just the tip of the iceberg. Once they can change round 4 notes you can get them doing any two string pairing from a pentatonic scale and eventually expand them onto more complex ideas as their technique and thinking capacity allows for. There is absolutely no reason to spend years getting all of your skills up before you attempt creativity, dive right in and start sewing the seeds of the future today.

The point is that If you get someone improvising from day one they will be improving their creativity from day one. You don’t want to wait 3 years to reach a certain technical ability before you begin training creativity, it will create to big a gap between skills. Better to get into it right away and develop their creativity from the beginning. That way students will not only develop the skills they need for improvising but will be able to write their own songs much earlier and discover their own musical voice far earlier than those who take a conventional approach to learning music.

When it comes to creativity the only limitations one will experience are those set by their lack of imagination. Learning how to think creatively and improvise on guitar is critical to the development of one’s voice on their instrument and something that should be started as early as possible. Don’t wait to get ‘good at guitar’ before you think about being creative, start building that muscle now and get the creative juices flowing! 

About the Author

Michael Gumley hails from Melbourne, Australia and is the owner and head teacher of Melbourne Guitar Academy. He is a strong believer in teaching creativity early on in musical development and believes it crucial to shaping ones voice. If you’d like to improvise and play guitar solos like the pros consider Strathmore Guitar Lessons with Michael. Don’t put your musical future on hold any longer!