In any practice session, we play music. This may include inventing or improvising or just playing through a tune or part of our set list. We can use any aspect that we have covered in any other point on the wheel. It can take place at every point, or reserved for a moment in our session.
Ultimately, everything we do can be done musically. And, processes within our practice sessions can merge to become unified musical action. This is different in many ways for everyone, and in other ways, exactly the same.
If someone asks you to play for them, it is unlikely that you will show them a lap or play a scale. You will typically play a tune or a song, or something that they may recognize. Or, just something that is musical. We should always be ready for this scenario, whether we plan to perform or not.
The goal of musiking is to allow sound to flow without using a training or calculating mindset. We keep training mind for training time [yet, again, we can do these things musically too]. When we jam, we simply let go and see what happens. Maybe we surprise ourselves. That is always a good thing. And, everytime we play, we can learn something. It may be that we can play and not try and everything goes well, or maybe just the opposite [back to training, now smarter].
- Play through a piece you have been practicing. Start to finish. Although we may practice [train] it in chunks, set your mental mode to “I am performing this piece for an audience”. Visualize a scene, and execute ‘as if’. See how it goes. Or no thoughts! Just play the piece.
- Play a song to the audio. Put the tune on, join the band for 3 or 4 minutes.
- Run the set. You have made a list of the songs you know in an order that you like. Now, play through the entire list – whether this is with audio, or just from memory.
- Play a song that you have been writing. See where you stand with it. Often with songwriting, we have to start from the beginning to understand how the form is working.
For everything we learn, we can use the exact same music materials and rework the order or length or rhythm or any other variable in the mix. Everyone that plays is an inventor. That’s how we ended up with so much music.
- Take the chords of a song and improvise strumming or fingerpicking them in a new order.
- Take a tone group [scale] and improvise with or without audio. Build every conceivable chord from the tone group.
- Make up new chords using whatever framework or idea structure you can think of, including a tone group.
- Write songs. Even if you don’t consider yourself a songwriter, put chords in your own order. Start vocalizing.