Many people love music, but it can sometimes be challenging to pin down your style and what you really like. You don’t always know how to express yourself or make waves in the industry.
Fortunately, this post is here to help. We explore some of the ways of finding your musical style and expressing yourself. If you feel a little “out at sea” at the moment, you’re not alone. This is a process that practically all talented musicians, singers, and aficionados go through on their journey.
What Is A Musical Style?
Everyone knows a musical style when they see one, whether it’s Snoop Dogg, West Life, or Tiana Green. But actually, defining it is a little more difficult.
Musical style is essentially the way you combine various musical elements, like harmony, melody, and rhythm. It can also involve things like drones, repetition, contrast, variation, and the instruments you choose to use. Most people choose a musical style that reflects their personality and emotions, while others take influences in their lives and channel that into music.
You can think of developing a musical style as a trial-and-error process. You probably won’t arrive at the completed product immediately. That takes time.
How To Find A Musical Style And Express Yourself
Here are some of the steps and tactics you can use to find a musical style and express yourself.
Listen To Plenty Of Music
The best way to find a musical style is to expose yourself to different kinds of music and genres. Listen to stuff you like and don’t like, as well as tracks that sound familiar and unfamiliar. Be open to listening to as many genres and mixes as you can. Also, explore music from different cultures and eras to give yourself a more rounded view of the music scene and what’s important to you.
When you do this, you soon discover that you love some genres you never expected to enjoy and dislike others. For instance, you might be someone who can’t get into 1950s jazz no matter how much you try, but you have no problem listening to 2000s techno from Germany.
Analyze The Music You Like
After you’ve listened to several hundred hours of music from all over the world, the next step is to pay attention to the elements and devices of the music you listen to. You want to figure out what it is about particular tracks or artists that makes them appealing.
The first time you write down this list, it might sound contradictory. Don’t worry about that. The more you listen, analyze and add to it, the more everything will start to fit together.
You can also ask specific questions to hone your niche. These include:-
- What type of repetition does the track use?
- What are the main instruments?
- Is the track heavily edited, or has it been recorded “raw”?
- What type of bridge and chorus structure do I like?
- Do I prefer moody or happy-sounding music?
Over time, you’ll build up a picture of the type of music you like and what interests you. You can then use this information to move on to the next stage.
According to Ava Camille, among the many roles that an artist plays in society, one of my favorites is to inspire others. Their creations have the power to inspire hope, change, reflection, joy, and even catharsis. This inspiration then flows into the creation of more art, generating a never-ending cycle of beauty.
Imitate The Music You Like
The next step is to imitate the music you like. While this might sound like plagiarism, it’s a phase most artists need to go through before they discover their own way of doing things. Some philosophers believe all art is imitation, so don’t worry if it feels a little awkward at first. (Just don’t try to sell anything that copies another artist’s work).
Record yourself in your studio playing music and singing along. See how you find and then evaluate where your voice fits into the grand scheme of things. Do you sound wildly different from your favorite artists? Or are these distinct similarities?
Experiment And Build On The Music You Create
Lastly, once you’ve mastered the basics and got to grips with a particular style, you’re free to start experimenting and freestyling. Improvising on songs you can already play and like is an excellent way to improve your musical talents and begin feeling more confident in your abilities.
During this process, have fun with the music you create. Don’t be afraid to add random twists and variations to see whether they produce the kind of sounds you like. Often experimentation is what yields the best and most exciting results.
Once you’ve recorded new music, reflect on whether it offers the right style. Does it let you express yourself, or do you need to go back and tweak your work?