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Book Excerpts

Style-Hopping: An Excerpt from Musician! A Practical Guide

By Published: October 22, 2010
3. It's never all about you; even if you wrote the song, you are a cog, albeit an important cog, in the wheel. So make sure you're working constructively with the other cogs. Defer to and learn from colleagues, bosses, and employees who know more than you about a particular musical style. Or go to your room (and work alone).

4. Know the role of every instrument in various contexts.

5. If you find yourself playing music you don't understand intellectually or viscerally, or if you're simply not playing well, stop thinking! Consult the vast void of your subconscious; play from the heart; stretch, meditate, go outside—do anything to get off of the cerebral hamster wheel.

6. When you style-hop, be the music: copy the attitude, pace, language, clothes, and dance styles of the best musicians and singers who define the genre; try to play only what is specific to the musical idiom; when you play the blues, do as the blues men do.

7. "Avant-garde" music becomes "cutting-edge" music which becomes "normal" music faster than you can say "Igor Stravinsky." Challenge your ears: draw inspiration from unconventional "new" music. Be all that you can be!

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