Creative Ideas for Musical Development

Music is sets of patterns.

Music sounds better when the musician has complete control over their instrument and the ability to think forward in time to make important musical decisions.

I am looking for Test Subjects 

I am looking for Test Subjects for a research project I am working on:  


Musicians that would be willing to engage in a seven-session study that would involve playing their instrument following a specific set of guidelines. To participate you would need to agree to the following:

Engage in seven individual practice sessions in a manner that follows a specific set of guidelines that I have created.
Create an audio recording for each of the sessions
Post a written comment on this discussion board after each session.
What did you work on? How long? What gave you the greatest struggle?  What got better?
If you miss a day, explain why you missed on the board. Try to make the day up to complete the study.

Keep an eye on what others are posting.

When you reach day seven you will be asked to review the day one recording in comparison to day seven. Post a written narrative and answer any question that I may post. 


If you do well, you may choose to move onto advanced levels and try another seven days.

The system is shown below.  Feel free to chat with me if you are interested.  I am attempting to make this easy to use and could use some feedback.



Working with Patterns



First Step:  Create a pattern

  • Set up a click track - something that keeps a pulse.

  • Create/improvise a simple pattern in a key signature that you want to develop.

  • Play the pattern and see if you can repeat it.  If you can’t, the pattern was too complex.

  • Once the pattern can be repeated, play it over and over to ensure that your play it as accurately as possible. 

    • Articulation is even

    •  Volume stays the same across the whole pattern

    • Tone quality is good

    • No fluctuations in the pulse


Next Step:  Learning to think ahead


  • While that pattern is being played prepare your mind to switch to a new pattern.

  • Try to think of at least one small aspect of the new pattern before you play it.   I.e., I am going to move from G to F and see what happens...

  • Once you start the new pattern you will have to shift your focus to the new melody as it is being created.  

  • Try to stay in the key and create a new pattern that is just a clean as the one before.  

  • Keep it simple until you start to develop a musical vocabulary.  Rhythm is a key component.  Make a decision what you are going to work on for the pattern.  i.e. syncopated rhythms, or a scale pattern or both combined. 





A click is heard.  I am playing G to D over and over in quarter notes – real simple. While I am playing that pattern, I give a thought to what I will change next.  I think that I will add an F instead of a G and continue to play the same rhythm.  I make the switch to the new pattern without stopping the pulse.





  1. Keep it simple!  It is challenging to play the same thing twice the exact same way.  5-10 times in a row, even tougher.

  2. Never stop the pulse, even when you take a break.  Keep 1234 going in your mind so that you start again on beat one.

  3. Pick a key that you what to explore.  I like minor, darker the better. 

  4. Be sure that you can repeat whatever you spontaneously create.

  5. Work on accuracy while you are repeating the pattern - this is where the muscle memory will get developed.

  6. Allow yourself to relax and use the pattern as a type of meditation. Clear your mind as much as possible. 

  7. You may stumble.  Try to recover the new pattern as fast as you can.

  8. If you play something that sounds really strange, attempt to repeat it.

  9. By repeating it, you can actually turn it into music as strange as it might be.

  10. " A wrong note played twice sometimes begins to sound right." Try to stay in a key however that will ultimately make you feel better.

  11.  If you have skills and can do this fairly easily, then make your pattern more complex or try some of the steps below.  Remain at your level until you can move forward with accuracy.






  1.  Try to play a longer pattern - instead of 4 beats, try 8.

  2.  Can you shift to a new key and play the same pattern instantly?

  3. Try to return to your favorite pattern after playing a new one.  Can you remember it?

  4. Try different meters

  5. Take a section of your music that gives you trouble and make that your pattern.  Play it over and over then add new aspects to it.  Ornamentation, trills, swing, etc.  





Record yourself

Play new patterns over what you just recorded.

See if you compliment the patterns you previously made.

Add another instrument and layer your recordings

Click Track if you need one.Keep a steady pulse.

You can use Garage Band, Logic, Audacity, or an online recording device.  Save them is a secure location.  

Live Session Demo?
I created a template in Logic Pro.
Track 1= Piano - "MIDI Looping Location"
Track 2= Pad - To practice mid-range melodies.
Track 3= Dialogue Track
Track 4= A live looper set up using several bussed delays. (allows me to record from a mic and loop.
Pick a key or chord progression:  G-  F7   Eb  Maj7
Two methods:
1. Simple additive grooves - Loops
2. Start with complicated pattern and solo on top.
3. Or a combination.