The Easiest Way to Learn a New Song

Before anyone can learn to play the chords or melody to a song, they will need to know how the song goes. Unfortunately this is not the fastest thing to teach, but it definitely is not boring. Learning how a song goes is a skill that every musician will need to know. Professionals use this skill just as much as anyone else. So how can you learn this skill?

First let’s define what learning a song means. It is necessary to be able to hear the song internally before you will successfully be able to play it. It will be impossible to memorize a melody on the guitar if you don’t know how it goes. Try this test to see if you know a song: Sing the song out loud. Did you do it? Is there a part you couldn’t remember? Don’t worry about the words, just the sounds. If you need to learn a song better here is how you do it.

  • Pick a song you want to learn.
  • Listen to the song a lot. The more you listen to the song the better.
  • Sing or hum along with the music. I have found this to be the most important part to quickly ingrain a melody into your memory.
  • Repeat part 2 and 3 a lot. The harder the music you are trying to learn, the more you will need to do this. If you are a beginner learning Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you may not need to listen to it as much as a professional learning a difficult jazz transcription.

 

This is simple, and fun. You will learn more songs and you will be able to apply them to your instrument. Keep in mind that an instrument is an extension of your voice. If you cannot sing it, you cannot play it. Keep in mind, I did not say sing well!

The Easiest Way to learn Melodies

Do you want to learn more about guitar than open chords? The next step is to start learning some melodies. There are many different ways to learn melodies. I am going to give you two ways to learn melodies quickly.

  • Pick a song that you know well. The better you know the song, the easier you will learn a melody. The better you know the song, the longer you will remember it. This Is the most basic foundation to learn any song. Tomorrows post will be about learning a new song better.
  • Go on YouTube and look up a lesson for the song you are learning. You can look up “How to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on guitar”. There is pretty much a lesson for every song you will ever want to play in your entire career. This is an easy way to learn, because you can visually see someone’s hand and they tell you what they are playing.
  • Memorize the melody. This is the most important part of learning guitar. Everything you work on should make its way to your memory.
  • Practice it over and over. The more you practice it, the better you get at playing it. The more you repeat it, the better you will remember it years from now.

 

Here is the second approach to learning a melody. This approach is a little bit harder to learn at first, but will make learning faster in the future. This approach will also make it easier to reference a melody you once knew, but forgot.

  • Pick a song that you know well. This is for the same reason mentioned above.
  • Print off guitar tab for the song you want to learn. This is for two reasons. First: It is there for you to easily access while you are learning it. Second: Store it in a 3 ring binder with a paper protector so that you can keep it for years. You can see your progress and it will be a easy reference if you forget it.
  • Memorize the melody. This is for the same reason mentioned above.
  • Practice it over and over. This is for the same reason mentioned above.

As you see, the two approaches are very similar. These are both easy to do, and it will be fun. Enjoy!

The Easiest way to memorize open guitar strings

Howdy! Are you brand new to guitar? Are you a guitar teacher looking for the easiest way to teach beginning guitar ideas? Read over this blog post and check out some of the other posts in this series. Here are 3 tips to memorize the names of the strings on the guitar. If you follow these 3 tips you will memorize them quickly, and never forget them.

 

  • Memorize pneumonics.
  1. Easter bunny goes dancing at Easter (From high sounding string to low sounding string)
  2. Eat All Day Get Big Easy (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  3. Eat Apples Daily Grow Big Ears (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  4. Even Average Dogs Get Bones Eventually (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  5. Eleven Angry Donuts greet big Elephants (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  6. Elves Ate Dirt getting better ebooks (From Low sounding string to high sounding string)
  7. Elvis bit grannies dog after epilepsy (From high sounding string to low sounding string)

Make up your own as well. It does not need to be good, it can be crazy. To make this process faster, try running around your house screaming the pneumonic you choose to memorize. This will activate your adrenaline which will improve your memory and recall.

This is the easiest way to memorize open guitar strings. Try it, I promise you will see dramatic improvement quickly.

The Easiest Way to Master Open Chords

Students often wonder what the best way to learn open chords fast is. They may try many different methods, but often they miss the easiest and most enjoyable way. It is very easy and simple to do. If you apply this concept you will be learning and having fun at the same time. I will separate this into 5 categories to make it as simple as possible.

  • Pick a song you enjoy. Make sure the song is enjoyable, it can be any genre and any speed. It can be a new song or an old song. The more enjoyable the song is, the better you will learn.
  • Print off the chord chart. This is an important part of the process. Using electronics to read your music will make this more difficult. I encourage you to either use a music stand, or set it up in a way that is easy to read while holding your guitar.
  • Print off an open chord reference sheet. This will be important for many reasons including refreshing your memory, and learning new open chords when you do not know the correct fingering. Keep this near you when you practice in case you need to reference it.
  • Play it by yourself, and play it with a recording. Play it by yourself and enjoy it. You can sing the song, but you don’t have to. Just have fun and make some noise playing your favorite song. Playing by yourself is great, but also play it with the recording. Playing it with the recording will push your playing to the next level. It is also a lot of fun!
  • Memorize the song. You should eventually memorize the song you are learning to play. At first, it is fine to use music. You goal should be to know the song well enough to play without the reference. This will allow you to memorize the chords better, it will also allow you to play songs for your friends!

I want to give you one additional piece of advice that will give you a sense of improvement. It will also be a way to quickly reference the song in the future if you forget it.

  • Every song you finish memorizing, put it in a 3 ring binder with a sheet protector. This will protect the music for future reference. If you every have a chance to play in front of people it will be a quick and easy reference guide that you can use.

This is the easiest way to master open chords. You will see improvement quickly if you do this every day. You will have a lot of fun, and you will learn quickly. Isn’t that what music is all about?

The 10 Thousand Hour Rule

Guy Playing Guitar

A very popular theory brought up when talking about learning a new skill is the ten thousand hour rule. It states that for someone to reach mastery of a skill, they must put approximately ten thousand hours of practice into that skill. Some have come out and modified this theory to say that ten thousand hours is to reach proficiency, but to master a skill one must put approximately 20 thousand hours of practice into the skill. These numbers are more of a guideline than they are facts. For someone to become very good at a skill, they must practice a lot. Everyone is different, and everyone learns at different speeds.

 

What constitutes practice is debated. It seems that the definition of practice is uncertain in this theory. Some musicians advocate that listening to music counts as practice, while other musicians deny this statement. Some will argue that visualization is practice, while others will argue against it.

 

What are your thoughts on the ten thousand hour rule?

 

 

The secret to gaining skill

Recently I have been learning how to draw. I signed up for a class in drawing and I have come a long way in my skill since I first started. Taking this class opened up my eyes to something that I already knew, but put it in a new perspective. Repetition.

For each object we learn how to draw we spend approximately 3 – 6 hours drawing the same item over and over again. The first few times are rough, but then it gets faster and more accurate. Eventually hidden details start to show themselves. We have learned a minimal amount of techniques, but my skill has greatly improved. The trick is to pick something that I can not draw, but practice it over and over again.

This approach to learning was how I also learned music. I would learn a new chord and practice it over and over again. In college I use to turn this into a game. I would play an etude at a specific tempo and each time I played it perfectly I would put a mark on a piece of paper. I would try to play it perfectly 100 times.

Every skill we learn, we perfect it by doing it many times. This is the trick to gaining skill. Do not be afraid of wasting time by practicing something a lot. It is better to master a few techniques than to barely use a bunch. Put it this way. If you focus on 1 thing for an hour a day each week. You will become very good at that one thing. You will be very good at 52 things by the end of the year. 52 things is more than enough to play well.

How To Play Guitar

Have you been trying to learn guitar? Maybe you just bought one? Trying to understand guitar can be confusing, especially with all those blog posts out there to choose lessons from. I am here to present to you the most basic explanation for playing guitar. With this formula you will sound exactly how you want.

Are you ready for this?

 

Formula: play the right notes at the right time.

OK, stop screaming and waving your arms. Let me elaborate.

1: In order to play the right notes you need to be able to play a note. A lot of exercises are created to enhance your hand coordination. Getting both hands working together is a very important step.

2: Learn what the right notes are. This is accomplished by studying chords and scales. Chords and scales are what make up songs, so these allow you to play and understand songs.

3: Our whole universe has a rhythm to it. I want you to sound like a train, but vary the speed and distance  of each chooka. Sometimes put a gap of 10 seconds in there. Do you sound like a train? No! You sound like a lunatic. Music is the exact same way. This rhythm is the final part to the formula.

For those who like math here is a mathematical formula.

Hand coordination + notes + rhythm = guitar playing

This formula will simplify learning. You will understand why you are practicing certain exercises. Hopefully you now have an idea of what you need to practice.

 

Best wishes.

Music Business Part 3

In the last few music business articles, there are many suggestions on how to deal with the music business in general. I think it would be a good time to focus on a few personal skills. These three things will make your music career run more smoothly.

 

First: Having an egotistical thought process. This is probably the most common negative trait that musicians have. This is something that you would like to avoid. Most people who are egotistical do not go very far in the music business. Of course, there is a thin line between being confident and having an Ego. Confidence is a trait that you absolutely do want to have. The thing about having an ego is that, if you are so good, it makes others feel lesser. If you refer back to the article of music business part 1. It is recommended that you are friendly and easy to get along with. Having an ego can also lead to being hard to rehearse with and not being a team player. You want to be easy to rehearse with and you want to work well as a team so that the music will be the best that it can be. It will also be more fun.

 

Second: Tough skin. Sometimes the music business can be hard, especially in the academic setting.  Not everything in the music industry is horrible and cut throat, but it is there and you will experience it. It is impossible to have any job that does not have some kind of cut throat people in it. If someone is mean, just ignore it. If you get rejected or fired from a band, keep trying.

 

Third: Appreciate your job. Most people dream about being able to stand on stage and play music for others to enjoy. I think one of the most satisfying experiences is that you can change someone’s emotions by making noise. Enjoy the fact that this makes you a very powerful and influential person. It is easy to get down about certain things, but I hope you can learn to appreciate what a luxury it can be as well.

 

These are some tips on the mental aspects of the career. I hope that these enhance your life.

Music Business Part 2

Are you in a band and want to learn how to be a better member of it? Do you have an audition for a band coming up and want to learn how to impress the other band members? Here are three simple tips that will make them impressed.

First: Be early to all band related engagements. No matter what it is, you should try to be at least 30 minutes early. If the rehearsal starts at 7:00, you should be there at 6:30 setting up. If it is for a gig, you may want to be there even earlier than that. The absolute worst thing you can do is show up 10 minutes late for a gig, and hold the show up. For an audition this is important as well, because to the band, this will represent how you normally are.

 

Second: Bring your music with you to rehearsals or gigs. If you don’t use music, memorize it and work on it before you go to the practice or gig. When you are auditioning it will really impress the band leader that you took the time to learn their songs before you got the gig. It shows dedication. If you are already part of a band, it will save time in rehearsal and make the band sound better during the concert. It is annoying to show up to a rehearsal and spend 20 minutes letting one person practice their part that they should have already worked on. Forgetting your music will also hurt your rehearsal time, unless someone else was prepared enough to bring an extra copy of the music for you. You don’t need to rely on others for your success though, do you?

 

Third: Bring more equipment than you need. One time I was hired to play the national anthem on guitar for a sporting event. I brought my amp, guitar, and pedals. I was all set to go. Once I got there, I set up in the middle of the stadium where they wanted me and I realized I did not have power. I asked if they have one of those orange electrical plugs, but they did not. Eventually someone found one I could use, but that looked very unprofessional on my part. It is a good idea to think through all possible worst case scenarios and bring whatever equipment you might need. You should not rely on others for your success. You should spend the extra five minutes carrying equipment to your car that you might not use, just in case you need it. What will you do if you break a string? Do you have an extra set to change them? Did you bring an extra guitar? Think about these things. It will eventually save you.

 

I hope these suggestions will work themselves into your life. Keep an eye out for more career tips coming up.

Music Business Part 1

Many people will say “You can’t make a living in music.” You will also hear that music is a tough career choice. The only reason this is true is because people have not learned the business part of being a musician. These 3 tips will help you better prepare yourself for job opportunities and raise your chance of success in this amazing career.

 

First: Be a go getter. Have you ever heard the phrase: “the only guaranteed way to fail is by not trying”? This is true. So the very fundamental concept that any musician can use to better their career in music is by trying to better their career in music. Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone about an opportunity. Do not be afraid to tell other musicians to keep you in mind if they ever need someone who plays your instrument. I have even seen people post on Facebook things similar to “I am free this Friday evening and need a gig on bass. Please call me if you need someone” The sad thing about life is that most people won’t remember to call you if you don’t remind them that you exist and are willing to play for them. People definitely will not call you If they do not even know you exist, so don’t be afraid to make a new contact.

 

Second: Be fast to reply to all possible opportunities. When someone calls you, messages you, emails you, or talks to you in person be fast to reply. The faster you can say yes, the more likely you will get the job rather than someone else who was also contacted. A faster reply also appears more professional. If you cannot do the job, still reply as quickly as you can. This is polite so that they know to keep looking. This gives him as much time as possible to find someone else. If you cannot do the job and you never reply, the person will probably think you are uninterested and will not ask you again in the future. If you reply quickly and say no, he may contact you again in the future.

 

Third: Appearance. A lot of musicians think about how they appear in front of a crowd of people they are playing for, but many people forget that the people that they are working with are just as important. You want to impress other musicians with your appearance. I am not talking about how you dress, although what you wear will make a difference in how people see you. I am talking about attitude. You need to appear approachable, friendly, nice, exciting, and fun to be with. No one would want to hire a cry baby who complains about his shoes being tied too tight during the last show. Always be friendly, and uplifting. Your goal is to make people like you on a personal level, or else they will probably hire someone else that they do like.

 

These are  tips that will completely change the way your music career will go. It is amazing at how many people either forget these tips, or avoid them and do not care. Good luck on your journey and keep an eye out for more posts about music business coming up!