Tips For Learning Songs

Tips to Learn Songs Faster On Guitar

So you’ve been practicing and working hard on your instrument. The hours you’ve invested into mastering your craft are starting to pay off and you’ve decide to take the plunge and learn that song you’ve always dreamt of being able to play. However, you might find that despite your new found skills, you still run in to difficulties. There might be a specific section that trips you up, the structure might be confusing and you’re running out of patience. Don’t dismay though, we’ve all been there and sometimes all you need to do is take a different approach. In this article we’re going to explore some techniques to help you overcome these obstacles and hopefully give you the breakthrough that you need!

Active Listening

I know this might seem obvious, but listening to the song you’re trying to master is key to success. I don’t mean putting it on while doing the dishes or fighting through the crowds whilst commuting, I’m talking about active listening. Active listening is when you are solely focused on what is happening in the song. Before you even sit down at your instrument, find somewhere quiet where you can listen to the music without any external distractions and can really absorb the music. Listen to all the melodies, not just on the instrument that you play but within all aspects of the song. Hear how the instruments communicate with each other, familiarise yourself with the groove, listen to the vocals and lead lines carefully, taking note of how they change from section to section. The idea is to memorise all aspects of the song until you know what happens in each part without having to listen to the actual song. Once you are confident that you know the song like the back of your hand, then it is time to sit with your instrument and start learning. Doing this is going to save a lot of time having to go back and check if you are playing certain parts right because you know exactly what its supposed to sound like. You will be able to use your musical ear more accurately and be familiar with the structure and melodies, thus playing with more confidence.

Tips For Learning Songs

Break It Down

With some exceptions, most songs are built up of repeating sections or progressions that make up the structure of the music. It might be difficult to hear when listening to the song as a whole, but due to the mathematical nature of how music is created, certain patterns start to emerge that you can use to break down the song and can change your perspective on how difficult a piece is to learn. Let’s take the classic ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis and dissect the structure. 

(Oasis – Wonderwall) 

Intro

Verse 1 

Verse 2 

Bridge 

Chorus 

Verse 3 

Bridge

Chorus 

Outro 

At first glance this might look like a lot of sections to learn and follow, but you might just find that some of these sections are exact repeats of previous ones. For example, all the Verses are made up of the same chords, same goes with the Chorus and the Bridge. You’ll also find that the Intro uses the same chords as the Verses and the Outro uses the same chords as the Chorus. So what we can do is identify different progressions in the song and assign them a letter. If we use A for the progression used in the Intro and Verses, B for the progression used in the Bridge and C for the progression in the Chorus and Outro then the structure of the song starts to look a little bit like this. 

A – Intro

A – Verse 1 

A – Verse 2 

B – Bridge 

C – Chorus 

A – Verse 3 

B – Bridge

C – Chorus 

C – Outro

Here we can see that this song is actually only made up of three differing sections, all we have to do is arrange them in the right order. By looking at songs in this way it breaks them down into a more manageable structure and definitely makes things look less daunting. So try and find these patterns and see how they arrange themselves in the songs you want to learn. Learn each section independently then work on stitching them together in the right order. This will create you a basic framework from which to work from  and help you on your way to playing the song through from start to finish. Once you have a firm grasp of the different sections, then you can go back and start adding in extra details like chord inversions or extensions that will bring the song to life. 

Isolate The Difficult Parts

In my experience, I have found that there is often one section in a song that you find more difficult than the rest. It can be incredibly frustrating every time you get to that bit and your playing falls apart, knocking your confidence for the rest of the song. In these scenarios, I find it best to isolate the difficult sections and practice it in detail. Slow down the tempo and repeat the difficult part until you can play it accurately and confidently at a slower pace. Once you are nailing it every time, slowly increase the tempo until it flows naturally at the original tempo. If you’re feeling dedicated, increase the tempo further than the original song until you can play it faster, then when you come to putting it back into context at the original tempo, you will be able to play the section with more confidence! 

Patience

I find myself using this point a lot when writing about music in general, but genuinely this is crucial to progressing as a musician. Be patient with yourself and don’t be disheartened if you can’t play things perfectly first time. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ resonates for a reason, it takes time and repetition to master an instrument. So if you find yourself getting annoyed or disheartened when learning songs, take a step back, have a break or work on something else. Getting annoyed at yourself is totally counter-productive and will only hinder your progress. 

I hope these tips help you overcome any obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your musical goals. It’s human nature to try and push yourself hard when learning anything, but pushing yourself too hard can be detrimental to your confidence and your playing. Don’t run before you can walk, break things down into manageable sections and practice in detail. Taking your time to learn things properly is going to save you from beating yourself up if you can’t play it quite right just yet! 

Guitar Chords Guitar Chord Chart Guitar Chords For Beginners

Guitar Chords Guitar Chord Chart Guitar Chords For Beginners

Guitar Lessons London excellent resource for guitar chords.Learning to play guitar is a lot of fun and you can learn the guitar in London fast with London Guitar Academy. In music, a guitar chord is a set of notes played on a guitar {see below}.Free guitar chords and chord charts from Guitar Lessons London – London Guitar Academy.

Guitar Chords Guitar Chord Chart Guitar Chords For Beginners

Guitar Chords Guitar Chord Chart Guitar Chords For Beginners

CHORDS OF A KEY

A “key” is a group of chords that sound good together. Making up songs can be as simple as picking a key from the chart, learning some or all of the chords in that key, and playing them however you feel like it. You can also substitute 6th 7th or 9th chords any time you want to, to change the sound or feel of your song. You may have noticed that I shaded the I, IV, and V chords in gray in the major keys. This is because those are the chords I love and use for playing blues.The chord chart below lists the common traids and four note chords in various major Keys. Roman numerals indicate each chords position relative to the scale.

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Try These Guitar Songs


Amazing Grace,America – A Horse with no name
The Beatles – The Ballad of John and Yoko 
The Beatles – Twist and Shout 
The Beatles – Let it be
Bill Haley – Rock around the clock
Bill Withers – Ain’t no Sunshine
The Beach Boys – Surfin USA
The Black Keys – Lonely Boy
Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the wind
Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on heaven’s door
Bob Marley – Three little birds
Bob Marley – Stir It Up
CCR – Bad Moon Rising
CCR – Up around the bend
Deep Blue Something – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Dolly Parton – Jolene
Elvis Presley – All Shook Up
Elvis Presley – Hound Dog
Elvis Presley – Stuck On You
For he’s a jolly good fellow
Gary Jules – Mad World
Happy birthday to you (B-day song)
Hokey Pokey
Jack White – Love Interruption
Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire
Justin Bieber – Baby
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
Kumbayah my lord
Nirvana – Where did you sleep last night
Pearl Jam – Last Kiss
Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
The Proclaimers – 500 miles
Row row row your boat
Sam Cooke – Wonderful World (don’t know much about history)
Staind – Outside
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Taylor Swift – Teardrops on my guitar
Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me
The Troggs – Wild Thing
This little light of mine
Tom Petty – Free Falling
Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down
Tom Petty – Listen to her heart
Tom Petty – Runnin’ down a dream
UB40 – Red Red Wine
Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
Weezer – Island in the sun


AC/DC – Highway to hell
The Animals – House of the rising sun
Backstreet Boys – As long as you love me
Beck – Lost Cause
Blink 182 – First Date
The Beatles – Eleonor Rigby (Lonely people)
The Beatles – Hey Jude
The Beatles – Norwegian wood
The Beatles – Yellow submarine
Bob Marley – No Woman no cry
Bryan Adams – Summer of 69
Bryan Adams – When you’re gone
Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song
The Calling – Wherever You Will Go
The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go
CCR – Long as I can see the light
CCR – Lodi
CCR – Susie Q
CCR – Who’ll Stop the Rain
Coldplay – Yellow
Coldplay – Clocks
Deep Purple – Smoke on the water
Don McLean – American Pie
Oasis – Wonderwall 
Passenger – Let her go
Pearl Jam – Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Pink Floyd – Comfortably numb
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue
Rise Against – Swing life away
Simon and Garfunkel – Me and Julio down by the Schoolyard
U2 – Desire
U2 – With or Without you

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