Thinking in patterns – learning music

Thinking in patterns is the very nature of how the brain works. At least in certain circumstances. And of course it depends on the group of people. Thinking in patterns is a peculiar way of memorizing things. I would assume that most musicians and artists utilize it to a great extent. From time to time however, musicians get in a rut. At that point, some of them say “let’s get rid of this very natural way of thinking in patterns”. In fact, they want to get rid of patterns themselves, too, in an attempt to refresh their musical style, and create something new and different. But is such “revolution” against patterns necessary? Can we use patterns to our advantage? We’re going to check into these things.

Thinking in patterns is natural

thinking in patternsPatterns are all over music. They are always there when a success of things occur. Be it rhythm, melody or chord progressions. Or anything else, really. So if you’ve ever tried to get rid of patterns, you know it’s pretty much impossible. Trying not to use the same old, well learned patterns will result in the creation of new patterns. It doesn’t mean that you have just fallen into another rut though. Creating new patterns is the way to be unique and have your own style. Be patient, because you’re gonna be learning new things. Things you haven’t done before. It shouldn’t freak you out. From stumbling upon or very consciously creating the new pattern, it’s the same learning process you’re probably familiar with already. Slow, repeated execution without errors, then a couple of good sleeps. You know the drill.

Thinking in patterns is natural

So, thinking in patterns is natural. There’s one stubborn way to get rid of patterns though. You have to stop using them. How does that happen? Well, you have to stop practicing. Whatever body parts that you used to make music on your instrument will utilize the muscle memory of your brain. You can only prevent that from happening if you quit using the muscles. Preferably, you also have to quit listening to music. That way it can’t trigger your mind, so thinking in patterns won’t happen anymore. At least not the ones music would give you. Then, when you start playing (only occasionally, so you don’t pick up too many patterns again), your chops will be faded. You will sound more and more random as well, because you lose control of the instrument. Thinking in patterns is natural. Don’t fight it; embrace it.

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