Playing cover songs is a great approach to learn your instrument and help you grow your own type of playing. As there is no replacement for writing, playing, and recording your own songs, hearing and selecting how many other musicians wrote is rewarding in the own way.
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The challenge of figuring out what the guitar guitar, bassist, drummer, etc. do makes you explore means of playing your instrument that you could not have considered. Or it enables one to become familiar with a different method of approaching rhythm, structure or phrasing that may do not have occurred to you. Then whenever you write your own music, that knowledge will enhance your own creativity and magnificence, without necessarily stealing one other songwriter's ideas.
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I have a friend who's an extremely competent songwriter. He says he's never played cover songs-that all he's ever played is original music. He's an excellent musician however can't help feel he would be much better if he ever endured to stretch his abilities and learn songs by other artists. I think it would open his eyes to new ways to approach his guitar and songwriting that he never wanted.
After all, I like playing my own stuff too but learning covers assists me with my very own writing and playing enormously. And it can be fun and rewarding to understand and play a song you love. It may be enlightening to find out an audio lesson you never like. For example, I needed to learn "Walk on By" by Burt Bacharach. I had been never fond of the song. It wasn't until I had to learn it and listen to it having a band which i really appreciated the dwelling and brilliance of Bacharach's craftmanship. I now understand why other songwriters have been in such awe of Burt Bacharach's abilities in creating pop songs.
Over earlier this weekend I watched "Some Kind of Monster," the video about Metallica. It shows their method of creating music, which, although much like most other bands approaches, still gave me a new thought process of how to write songs. From their riffing on guitars to start and turning the riff right into a song, to the technicality of reading the computer readout from the snare drum and finding that it absolutely was away from amount of time in one part of the song.
My current band, psychotronics, is incorporated in the kind of a totally free form jazz band (think Miles Davis, coltrane) but rocks and is also essentially a rockband. My writing for psychotronics involves creating riffs so we jam in it. Not structured songs, with some exceptions, but improvisational playing in the jazz style. Not really as structured as the majority of the jam bands I've heard. But I'm also starting a cover band to try out weddings and anwhere else we could gig. I am aware that my playing is improving and my writing is growing because I have to study a wide selection of songs I never might have known.
So listen closely and determine what other musicians are going to do inside their songs. What approach can they take to playing their instruments? You'll find your skill to try out and make will grow rapidly by the exercise of learning covers.