Music, like many things, is best learned through imitation. By recreating the sounds you love, you’re literally embodying that knowledge. Owning it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Bach, Beastie Boys, or Benny Golson, figuring out and recreating your favorite tunes is what every single one of the best musicians you’ve heard do in the quest to become a great musician.
Start simply. Learn a melody, and try to imitate absolutely everything you hear: tone quality, pitch, rhythm, movement, emotional content, everything. Don’t use written music: 90% of the information you put in your sound has nothing to do with written music. That’s just black dots on a white page. You have to own the sound quality, not just the notes, and that’s why imitation is one of the best practice tools out there.
Our brains are literally wired for imitation. I’m talking about the mirror neuron system a topic that’s covered in detail in The Practice of Practice.
Here are a few performances by Kawehi, covering Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box, Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel, and a couple others interesting musical inventions. She’s got a Kickstarter going right now, that I just pledged to, and you should, too. Even a buck. It’s a tough life being a musician. After supporting her, get started imitating some of your musical heroes!
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