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Watch the Developing Phrases online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Power Phrasing

I like to think of phrase development as a four part process covering 8 bars of music. Each of the 4 processes and phrases covers 2 bars of music. My process is simple - 1. I take a simple melodic phrase and play it over the first 2 measures 2. I approximate that phrase again over bars 3 and 4 with a slight melodic variation from the first idea 3. I approximate the first phrase again over bars 5 and 6 with another slight variation and then over bars 7 and 8 I play something completely different from the first 6 bars. The last phrase will almost always have a very strong resolution point and ending.

The wonderful thing about approaching your phrases this way is that you don’t need to come up with a million ideas, all you do is tweak the initial idea 3 times and then take it somewhere new on the last 2 bars. Great blues/rock/jazz musicians have been doing this to great effect for decades. It works incredibly well and the listener enjoys the benefit of your melodic motifs much more than a stream of unthematic note choices.