How To Learn and Play Licks
"licks and hooks lose their meaning unless you can truly understand them..."
- The purpose of studying music theory is to help understand what you hear and as a result hear it better, especially if you can connect the logic, feel and sound !
- Learning the lick is the easiest part... figuring out how, where and when to use it... now that's the challenge. Always remember this, and as a result, always learn licks in CONTEXT... in other words, by hearing them in your favorite albums. (*Fortunately most players have certain licks they use over and over again... try to recognize them in their playing and how, where, why and when they use them !)
- ...as a result, at all costs, never play a lick mechanically. You have to feel it coming, then lay it down.
- The biggest mistake players make is trying to learn licks from books that have licks and lines... You *CAN* use these books so that the music notation helps SHOW you what you're hearing, but do not use the MUSIC NOTATION as your primary source. Use the music notation as the "hint" on the notes, but learn the feel and rhythm from REAL listening example.
- Avoid playing licks arbitrarily... nothing sounds more superficial or imitative when someone takes a lick, and it is clear that it was forced or played out of context. Therefore, theoretical understanding and a lot of listening experience is *essential* !!!
- Always tie licks into the three big questions...
- What does it sound like ?
- What does it feel like ?
- What is its logic ? (*that's all that music theory stuff.)