Yesterday I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Ichika Nito Guitar Clinic at Bentley Music Auditorium, in collaboration with Ibanez. It was a monumental moment as it marked Ichika’s very first appearance in Kuala Lumpur.
After years of following his work, watching countless videos online on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, seeing Ichika live was an experience I had eagerly awaited.
In this blog post, I’m thrilled to share with you ten valuable lessons I learned from studying and observing Ichika’s playing over the years, including insights gained from attending his clinic. These insights have not only inspired me, but have also shaped my own approach to guitar playing.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
- Melody: One of the most captivating aspects of Ichika’s music is his ability to craft incredibly singable and beautiful melodies. Each melody he creates is deeply emotive, evoking a wide range of emotions. It is through these captivating melodies that Ichika manages to draw in his listeners, establishing a profound connection.
- Chords: Alongside his mesmerizing melodies, Ichika employs interesting chord progressions to enrich the sonic landscape of his music. Often starting with chords and then adding melodies, he demonstrates a command over harmonies and voicings that creates a sense of variety and density in his sound.
- Mood: Ichika is a master at capturing and conveying mood in his compositions. Even if you were to replicate his melodies, techniques, and chords, capturing the mood is crucial. His music has a unique ability to transport listeners into little musical worlds, where they become immersed and carried away before eventually returning to reality.
- Texture: Ichika’s playing encompasses a wide array of techniques, ranging from tapping and slapping to heavy strumming and gentle fingerpicking. These diverse techniques create different textures within his music, from arpeggios to chords, harmonics, and more. The rich textures he employs act as a feast for the ears, adding depth and intrigue to his compositions.
- Contrasting Techniques: Ichika’s versatility shines through his use of contrasting techniques. He seamlessly weaves together fingerpicking, tapping, strumming, legato playing, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and more. These contrasting techniques not only add interest but also enhance the overall texture of his music.
- Good Song Titles: Ichika’s videos on YouTube are accompanied by catchy and intriguing titles. These song titles, such as “When you need to impress a girl but you only have a guitar and 20 seconds,” “I Play the Coolest Instrument,” or “When your homie doesn’t kiss you good night,” pique curiosity and spark interest in listeners. Good song titles are an essential part of the overall musical experience.
- Storytelling: In Ichika’s shorter pieces, even in brief moments, there is a strong element of storytelling. This narrative quality is reflected in the title, melody, harmony, and arrangement. Playing a beautiful melody or chords is one thing, but the ability to tell a story through music adds depth and resonance that truly captivates the audience.
- Visual Aesthetics: Ichika’s videos possess a distinct visual aesthetic, characterized by unique color grading and carefully crafted imagery. His attention to detail extends beyond his guitar playing, creating an immersive experience for viewers. Ichika is not just a guitarist; he is a content creator who skillfully combines visuals with his music to create an aura of mystery and intrigue.
- Honest Emotion: When watching Ichika play, one can sense the genuine and emotive nature of his music. The emotion draws you into his musical world!
- Beautiful Compositions: Beyond technical prowess, beyond chords and harmonies, at the core of Ichika’s allure lies his ability to create breathtaking compositions. When you strip away all the layers and simply listen to the music, it is the beauty of his compositions that shines through. This is what sets Ichika apart and grants him a unique musical identity. Just as each artist has their own distinct sound, Ichika’s compositions are an essential part of his musical journey. They evoke a sense of self and create a lasting impact on listeners. When you listen to Ichika, you experience something truly special—a musical voice that is unmistakably his own.
So there you have it—the ten invaluable lessons I gleaned from studying Ichika’s playing, from his live clinic to his online videos.
I hope these insights inspire and provide you with a deeper understanding of Ichika’s musical prowess.
If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to explore my other articles and posts, which offer even more guitar and music tips.
and this series:
[WORKSHOPS: LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS]
10 Things I Learned From The Mateus Asato Singapore Guitar Clinic
10 Things I Learned From The Julian Lage TIJC 2017 Workshop
10 Things I Learned From The Jack Thammarat Kuala Lumpur Workshop
10 Things I Learned From The Guthrie Govan Kuala Lumpur Workshop
And for jazzers… interested to check out what I learned from the Thailand International Jazz Camp 2017 (12 hours of workshops & 2 hours of jam sessions), check out the 3,100+ word blog post here: Thailand International Jazz Camp 2017 with Shai Maestro/Desmond White Group and Thailand International Jazz Camp 2018 with Will Vinson Quintet.
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