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In this week’s episode of the ArtistWorks Music Series podcast, our co-founder Patricia Butler sits down with Grammy Award-winning musician, 4-time IBMA “Mandolin Player of the Year,” and ArtistWorks master bluegrass mandolin instructor, Sierra Hull, to discuss the concept of “How to Find Your Own Sound.” Together, they explore the process of developing a unique voice as a player, determining how you want to sound on your instrument, and setting goals so that you can achieve your desired tones on your stringed instrument of choice. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts, or you can listen here at ArtistWorks.

 

LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass mandolin from a master musician like Sierra Hull? Try a free mandolin lesson now!

 

As we begin the process of learning how to play an instrument, we tend to focus most of our attention and energy on playing the correct notes, performing pieces accurately, and emulating the sound of musicians that we’re inspired by. While this is a critical place from which to begin your journey, musical performance is ultimately about self-expression and developing your own unique voice on your instrument. However, understanding how to accomplish this goal, especially on a stringed instrument, can be daunting for beginner and advanced players alike.

 

“One of the main things in music that’s always been a goal of mine is producing a beautiful sound quality and tone,” expresses Sierra. “What attracted me to so many of my favorite musicians and my musical heroes was the quality of their sounds fundamentally, and it’s one of the things that I don’t think gets discussed as much as it should compared to some of the more technical aspects of music-making.”

 

The process of developing your unique sound on your instrument has as much to do with critical listening as it does with practicing with your instrument in hand. For example, focusing on the manner in which small adjustments in your posture, the way you hold the pick, or the pressure you apply to the string impacts the sound you produce is essential. Only from there can you begin to make the necessary technical tweaks in order to produce the tone you’re going for.

 

“Above all, our ears have to be the most important thing, and we always have to be mindful of what we’re hearing,” Sierra explains. “The physical nature of each person is different, so the tones we generate on our instruments will likely be different even if we’re using the exact same techniques. There will be little adjustments that you’ll have to make in order to achieve what you want. But, that’s part of the beauty of the musical process.”

 

To learn more about how you can develop your own unique sound and grow as a musician, regardless of the instrument you play, listen to the full podcast with Sierra Hull here:

 

 

If you’re interested in studying the bluegrass mandolin and learning even more about Sierra’s approaches to developing a unique sound and style, check out her online mandolin lessons right here at ArtistWorks!

 

UPDATE:

After 61 amazing episodes, we are concluding the ArtistWorks Music Series podcast, and launching a brand new series in the coming weeks—the ArtistWorks Music Roundtable. Like the ArtistWorks Music Series, the ArtistWorks Music Roundtable podcast will feature new episodes every other Wednesday. However, the show will be taking a slightly different format.

 

In each episode, members of the ArtistWorks faculty will be participating in roundtable discussions on a variety of musical topics with one or more notable musical guests from outside of the ArtistWorks roster—their friends, peers, colleagues, fellow musicians that they’ve toured or taught with, etc.

 

“This new format will provide one of those rare opportunities to get a behind-the-scenes look at the minds and experiences of our artists,” Patricia explains. “We’re excited for all we have in store. But, I also want to thank you for tuning into these musical conversations that I’ve hosted over the last few years. It has been a privilege and truly been one of those opportunities in my life that I appreciate deeply.”

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTWORKS MUSIC SERIES:

On the ArtistWorks Music Series, co-founder Patricia Butler speaks with master musicians across all genres who teach at ArtistWorks. Join them as they dive deep into topics like becoming a musician, playing at all skill levels, and the journey of learning music.

 

Looking to dive into more music podcasts? You’ve come to the right place. Investigate previous episodes where plenty of topics are explored with fantastic, hand-selected, and knowledgeable guests.

 

While this is the final episode of the ArtistWorks Music Series, tune in for episodes of our new upcoming podcast that will be released every other Wednesday on all platforms. Additionally, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show!

 

Want to get started on overcoming the roadblock on your musical journey with our online music lessons? Try out some free sample music lessons with any of our master musicians and learn from the best!

 

READ MORE:

Bluegrass Mandolin Lesson: Learning Your Chord Scales with Sierra Hull

ArtistWorks Music Series Podcast—​​Punch Brothers’ Hell On Church Street: An Interview with Chris Eldridge & Noam Pikelny

Bluegrass Mandolin Lesson: Learn to Play “Amazing Grace” with Sierra Hull

 

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