Break out of the rut

Break out of the rut.

Once upon a time, I was a classical pianist. Then I fell in love with jazz and exchanged scored music for chord charts and improvising. And then came gospel music with big harmonies and big sound, and trips to other countries where I was immersed in both poignant and powerful rhythms and melodies. When my foray into contemporary worship music began, songs were simple, bands were few and far between, and verse—chorus—verse—chorus—bridge—chorus was not a formula.

Even with a diverse background, over the years, I’ve found myself in a few ruts here and there where I realized that my musical skills had stagnated. My fingers played in chords that were comfortable, and my fingers hit keys in predictable rhythms. At times, intros to songs began to sound the same. I also faced the temptation at one time to stay with a particular vocal sound and style just because I was trained that way and it was comfortable. Does any of that sound familiar to you?

So how do you break out of a rut?

The challenge is to recognize when you’ve begun to play the same way overall regardless of the song. Having your own style is good, but it can become boring and the sparkle can diminish if you don’t continue to experiment and develop musically.

You can make your sound fresh by listening to other musicians, watching some tutorials on YouTube, or taking some lessons from someone with a skillset that’s different from yours.

You may also want to objectively look at the musicality of the songs you’re writing as well. It may be time to collaborate to create something fresh.

Familiarity and comfort aren’t bad, but growth is better. Invest in yourself and develop your God-given talent, and see what happens. Break out of the rut.