On improvising and composing, part 4

Does Instrumental/Vocal practice affect your Composing & Songwriting and vice versa?
In the long run, or even after long breaks?

(I got a blog post reply from Lee Lucas for part 2, which inspired me to write a new blog post of my own. I initially was writing a reply, but decided to put it here instead.)

Link to part 2:

When it comes to long past periods of somewhat intense instrument/vocals practicing and improvising in the past, I think it mostly can translate into the songwriting or composing aspects of making music later on.

The one thing that I think gets diminished the fastest is the precision while performing. (or any relentless aims for improving further with it)

Although I am not as precise with virtuoso performances in recent years, due to lack of time put into practice, I do feel I have a lot better intuitive understanding for full picture composing, and also for the details in various musical elements.

It also came from all the improvisations I’ve done, both during the piano studies years, and after.

However, composing kinds of skill also takes time to develop usually.
It depends on what aims one has with personal goals.
One doesn’t exclude the other, but different skills would be improved more, depending on choices made of course.

When it comes to those who take breaks from practicing or playing/singing, I did notice that taste and awareness for familiar genres often still are there, also when doing covers.
And because of that, I also assume that one’s own composing & songwriting can benefit from it, if decided to focus on it again. Even if it’s way later on.

“This is easy… Just like riding a bike!” *

And like a guitarist & songwriter once said to me:
“I don’t need to improve my guitar technique anymore for the genres I’m into.
Now I should work on my personal character to fit those playing styles.”(paraphrasing)

This was about blues and bluegrass, and I think he proved his point while performing in diverse manners too.

In general, maintaining one’s base skills or at least musical understanding is a good thing for composing & songwriting, I feel.

For instance, I think there’s usually a huge difference if an instrumentalist would click notes in a DAW for a solo piece, compared to if a computer wiz with no instrumental practice would do it, (or at least having extensive musical studies or meticulous listening experience under the belt)

I still haven’t seen computer software, which could fully replace the human ear and brain for musical and emotional creations, btw.

We are all human, with everything that comes with it, but like tech stuff we too can improve what we choose to improve…
Peace, love and an individual mindset to you! / Fredrik

* Blind Fury (1989)
Rutger Hauer portraying Nick Parker, “the blind Zorro” / Modern day Zatoichi.
In this scene, he starts out a bit shaky behind the wheels, being blind and rusty.
But in the end, he proves his point, e.g. hitting the breaks like second nature, see… Yeah, it’s a movie, I know!  ^^
I feel the wisdom offered in the scene is there though.
Despite some outdated aspects and some cliche characters, I still feel think it’s a surprisingly good movie, with some good points about assumptions.
Deliberate ones, it seems…

(Note: movie screenshot used under the Fair use copyright doctrine.)

2 thoughts on “On improvising and composing, part 4

  1. Interesting article, Fredrik … Looking back on my own practicing-career I tend with age to focus on making music and composing and not anymore to practice scales and arms. Though a musician have always to do both there comes a time, when you can count on a basic vocabulary and can use the spare-time for creativity

    • Thank you for your thoughts on it, Dirk!
      I’m not practicing much either, focusing on composing, production and the business aims for it too in recent years.

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