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!
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?
Everyone will agree that there is no substitute for practicing. You may have heard about the 10 thousand hour rule to becoming an expert at something, but don’t let this scare you. This lesson will teach you the trick to getting better at guitar fast. We are not breaking any laws of science or anything; we are simply using a little to gain a lot. So let’s jump in and learn the secret to getting better at guitar.
The secret: Don’t freak out on me. It’s not magic. Learn to do one thing very well… Yep, that’s it. Are you disappointed? Don’t be.
Most people when they practice guitar, they work out of a book, practicing strumming chords to songs they like, learning new chords, learning to play melodies etc. Try breaking this down and work on just learning new chords. Instead of jumping in and learning all 7 modes at one time, try to learn just 1 and use it the best you can.
Focusing on one idea at a time is going to take you much farther than over whelming yourself. So keep it real and keep it focused.