2-minute-read. Last update: December 5th, 2016.
Imagine people listening to a part of your song and instantly recognizing you as the artist. That’s YOUR music sound. Your unique music sound makes you a brand. It makes you stand out. How to find your own sound then? Here are 7 steps you can take.
What is your music sound?
Zac Citron from The Pro Audio Files explains it in a nice way: You don’t have to “find” your sound. Your music sound is not something external. It’s already in you. It’s you when you don’t care about the opinion of others.
The true problem is to identify what is your true self, and what is not. And stick to it, even in moments when you’re scared by being not like everybody else.
Also, the own music sound might not be something static. At a certain point in your life something might be “You” and not you just a couple of years later. Do your music from the heart and follow these 7 steps:
How to develop your own music sound?
Well, you could say: Just play the way you do. But these tips go a little bit further. Sometimes you don’t know what is your truly YOU. Sometimes musicians don’t know when they’ve reached the point of “their” sound. Make sure you think about these seven points:
- Be sure about your technical skills
- Get inspired, but not 100% influenced
- Explore your creativity
- Trust your first instinct
- Be consistent with your music sound
- Embrace your personality with all its edges
- Practice, practice, practice
1. Be sure about your technical skills
Do this before you start developing your music sound. Like when you’re building a house, you don’t start with the decoration, but with the foundation first. Make sure you can play your instrument well at any condition. Because in the end, your own music sound is just fine-tuning. Very important tuning, though.
2. Get inspired, but not 100% influenced
The point is not to imitate an existing band or musician, which is popular. Rather try to identify music you love and find out WHY you love it. Or even look out for some music you never listen to and try to understand the way it works. This might be a great source of inspiration.
A reddit-user says: “I feel one thing is to try to avoid emulating someone who plays your instrument. For example, whenever people saw my clarinet and heard I played jazz they immediately started thinking Benny Goodman or Woody Guthrie. With my bass clarinet, they thought Eric Dolphy. While these are all fine players, I had no interest in sounding like them and instead listened to trumpet and sax players.”
The difference between influence and imitation: When you imitate, everything you do sounds like your adored artist. When you are inspired, you include the elements in your music, but just to a small part. Each source of inspiration is a tool you can add to your “music tools” list.
3. Explore your creativity
How do you know you’ve just created something extraordinary? By thinking: Gosh, that’s crap! Because “creative” also means new, unknown, scary. Something way out of your comfort zone.
You’ve found it? Good job. This is the area you want to spend some time with. Play with your inspirations.
4. Trust your first instinct
Just like in school tests: The first answer is the right one. If you start thinking too intently if the sound you just created it good, you’ll loose it. The first progression where you thought “Nice” is YOU. The first melody that comes to mind. The first way of mastering your song record.
5. Be consistent with your music sound
Just as I mentioned before: Stay true to yourself. Keep producing songs and sounds which are showing your true self. All great artists with an own sound have a “repeated style which isn’t too repetitive” says Tyler Allen, a music marketing strategist.
Typically, your own unique music sound consists of one outstanding element. Maybe it’s your voice. Or your very special amp sound. Or the way you structure your songs. Identify this element and use it purposefully.
6. Embrace your personality with all its edges
Nobody is cooler than your true YOU. Don’t be afraid of these two people who’ll tell you they hate your sound. Being authentic really counts. The less you care if you’re sound will be liked by others, the more your true fans will appreciate you.
7. Practice, practice, practice
When it comes to making music (or everything in life), practice is the ultimate solution. Practice writing or interpreting songs in your style. Practice writing new songs, melodies, and lyrics. Record yourself to analyze your sound and the way it changes over time. You can record and connect with different musicians for free on sofasession.
Are you interested in improving your music skills? Then find out more here:
- How to improve your voice?
- How to prepare for a live performance?
- How to write a song in 10 steps?
- How to act in a jam session?
- How can you become a better improviser?
- 5 Ear Training Exercises
Main photo by Jason Melcher, showing Hard Rock Rising at Hard Rock Cafe.