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David's Tip of the Day: Context - Part 3, Licks & Neon Post-it Notes

David Barrett Admin's picture

We often hear a cool lick and learn just that lick, leaving the solo or instrumental behind (sometimes that lick is the only cool idea played... or at least cool to us at that moment in time). Many players just learn the lick and move on. If you move on you're guaranteed to not have it show up in your improvising. Unless the lick contains some super-sticky elements that makes it unusually easy to remember (doesn't usually happen) you'll need to play it a minimum of 50 times before it sticks into your long-term memory. I like to write the lick down on a post-it note and keep it in my harp case. When improvising, the neon-colored post-it will catch my eye and I'll try to throw the new lick in there. The post-it note stays in my case until the lick starts to appear in my improvising with having to see the post-it (without prompting... the lick just flows into my improvising without conscious effort). Give this a try.