Why You Have A Hard Time Expressing Yourself With Your Music

by Tom Hess

Of all the musical skills that you can develop as a guitarist, the single greatest goal you can reach is the freedom to express any musical emotion that you feel through your guitar playing. The ability to instantly change the emotional state of yourself and your listeners when they hear you play guitar is, for many musicians, the highest point of musical mastery.

As much as many musicians desire to have this level of artistic expression, there are only a few who ever reach this goal. Why does this happen you may ask? There are dozens of reasons as to why, and here are 2 of the most common:

Reason #1:

Most guitar players do not even make a strong effort to get better at musical expression. I spent some time looking through a Google keyword search application and found the regular monthly searches for these terms:

play guitar with feeling = NO searches
expressing feeling with guitar = NO searches
play guitar with emotion = NO searches

express yourself on guitar = NOT A SINGLE search
playing guitar with teeth = 320 searches (can you believe that?)

You read it right! The majority looks up “playing guitar with teeth” instead of “expressing feeling with guitar” or other such topics. This is hardly motivating..

Reason #2:

When guitarists begin learning about applying theoretical musical concepts to guitar, they spend a lot of their time focusing on the wrong things. Though this info can be helpful for giving the guitar player direction to a certain extent, it is not the right thing to look into in order to gain control over the exact feelings you make while playing the guitar. The same applies to songwriting, and guitar improvisation.

Here is a great illustration of my point: If I told you to find an “E” note on the guitar you would probably be able to do this very quickly. However, if I told you to quickly find a note on your guitar that creates a particular feeling, you wouldn't be able to find it (assuming you are similar to most guitarists). Let me explain this a bit further...

Pretend that we are both about to jam together on guitar. I start strumming an E minor chord, and you decide that you are going to start playing a cool melody at the same time. Before you begin playing, I ask you if you can play your melody in a way that expresses a particular idea. My idea is that I want you to express “a sad woman crying over a past love”. Do you know what note you could play (above E minor) that will express “a sad woman crying over a past love?”

The greater portion of guitar players would have no idea how to express this with guitar playing. They would likely scramble around the fretboard trying to find something that works. Even if we switched to trying to express something totally different, the majority still would not understand how to quickly find the right note (...in their head, before even touching the guitar.)

The key to accurately expressing ideas with guitar is knowing exactly (in your head) which note will work in any given context, before you touch the guitar. All of the greatest guitar players who can freely express strong emotions in music have the ability to know ahead of time which note(s) will best express a certain feeling in any context. Not to mention, that they can use this ability to make anyone who listens to them feel the same. This is the greatest ability that one could ever look to obtain in all of music.

How can you add more feeling into your guitar playing right now?

Perhaps you think that you need a masters degree in music performance or detailed knowledge of how music works to be able to become highly expressive with music. Well, you don't need either one.

Here are 2 things you must do to master musical expression with guitar:

1.When you are learning on guitar, make it your number one objective to express emotions while you play. Keep this in mind every time you pick up the guitar.

2.Stop seeing the fretboard as a series of notes, fret numbers, and scale patterns. Start seeing emotions that you can express on guitar.

To see and hear how this works, begin by watching the video below.

Immediately upon viewing the video you will start to understand how to approach your guitar playing if you want to play guitar with real emotion and feeling.

By changing your current guitar playing mindset to fit that of a “highly expressive guitarist,” you will be able to become a true musical artist and significantly affect the way others experience your guitar playing. As you practice expressing yourself on guitar, you WILL see huge results in all areas of your musicianship.

Express your emotions accurately through music by watching this music theory guitar video.

Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional touring musician and the guitarist. He also teaches and trains guitarists from all over the world in his online guitar lessons.  On his website, tomhess.net, you can get additional free tips about guitar playing, guitar playing resources, mini courses and surveys.