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Tips, Tricks and Road Stories


Finding Your Inner Voice

January 23, 2012; Isaiah Simpson

It’s often we ask ourselves as musicians: Why should I practice?  What in the world can I do to get myself up and put forth the extra work to distinguish myself?  How can I get motivated?  The answer to all three of those questions resides in your inner voice.

Your inner voice is the song of your heart—it comprises unique melodies and harmonic tastes that come out every time you sing or play your instrument.  It’s the center of your musical self, so to speak.  The way you identify this voice is to recognize the music and styles that you respond to most actively—both physically and mentally.

When you discover what those are you can begin to actively seek out music that resonates with your inner voice and therefore gives you inspiration.  By not being in tune with this, we as musicians could needlessly end up spending great lengths of time listening to new music, waiting for inspiration and wondering why that “spark” won’t show up.  However, once you know yourself and what your inner voice is, you can know your “spark”—and there’s lots of diverse music out there to set that spark off.

Think about it: what are your favorite chords, your favorite instruments, melodies, song lyrics?  What makes them special to you?  A Music Theory Professor of mine once stated that he could be in a trance state at an Opera show and spring to life upon hearing a Neapolitan 6th chord.  Think and reflect deeply in to this as you hold the pen in your hand to write your new song lyrics or notes for your instrument.  Your individual taste gives you a unique perspective and craft no one else has, so tap into it.  Visualize the words you sing as a singer—see how they match up with the chords that match your inner voice.

When I do this I enter a calm state and feel see the notes I want to splash onto the page, I feel my emotions connect to the page and can see how that will then connect to the future audience.  I hope by doing this the same joy, inspiration, and renewal in your musical journey will come to you as it does me.

Isaiah Simpson
Percussive Arts Educator, Syracuse, NY

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