How To Learn Songs—Easy Guitar Chord Practice Method To Play Complete Tunes
Have you ever tried to learn a song on the guitar and quit part of the way through because you felt overwhelmed by the number of chords you had to memorize? Or do you only know parts of musical compositions and wish you could play them all the way from beginning to end? Many beginning guitar players get discouraged because they feel there is “too much” to remember when trying learn all the changes in a piece of music.
Learning complete songs on the guitar can feel overwhelming. I remember feeling this way and have helped many guitar students conquer this feeling and start playing full tunes on the guitar. What I have found is that the best way to master songs on the guitar is to have an effective system that will help you easily break down all of the chord changes in the piece you want to learn and help you practice and learn to play them in the shortest time possible with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.
As a long-time guitar teacher, I have noticed that the inability to perfect complete songs easily affects intermediate and advanced guitar players almost as much as beginners. In fact, there are many very good guitar players that know only parts of songs but cannot play very many all the way through from start to finish. What all these guitar players lack is a simple way to take a piece of music (even a complex one with many chords) and break it down in way that makes it simple to put all the pieces of the chord progressions within the song together. And most importantly, learning the best way to practice and master the difficult parts so that they will be able to play all the parts well, not just the ones that are easy for them.
Watch the free guitar chord lesson video and download a worksheet that will help you start playing complete songs now.
Here are the main problems that most guitar players have learning complete songs:
- They always start at the beginning of the piece each time they practice it.
- They only play the parts that are easy for them and skip over or “mess up” the parts that are difficult.
- Not knowing how to truly isolate and practice the hard parts so that they learn and master them more quickly.
- They give up when they get frustrated and pick something new to try to learn. And then repeat the whole process again without finishing anything. They are stuck in a loop of frustration and stuck only knowing how to play parts of songs.
- Rarely, if ever, learning anything all the way through from beginning to end.
The Solution: How to be a “Finisher of Songs”
What if you could greatly shorten the amount of time that it takes you to learn, memorize and master all the chords and start playing the entire song easily? It’s not as hard to do this as you may think. Most songs have a lot of repetition within the entire piece of music. Because of the repetition factor, there usually aren’t all that many chords in most tunes. A tune may be quite long and use only six to ten. Think about some of your favorite tunes and notice that there is usually a fair amount of repetition of the parts within it.
Secondly, there are usually only a couple parts or chord changes that will give you the greatest amount of trouble. Many of the changes will be fairly easy for you to play with less practice than others.
If we start looking at the chords and changes in this way, the task of learning entire songs becomes much less daunting and overwhelming. The solution to mastering and learning entire pieces of music is based on using a simple practice method that will allow you to:
- Easily determine all the chords in any composition you want to perform.
- Figure out which chords will require the most work and practice in order for you to play the song.
- Practice the chord changes in the best way possible so that you can learn the entire piece with minimal hassle and in a short amount of time.
- Play complete songs.
This guitar lesson video and chord and song worksheet will show you exactly what you need to do to practice and learn complete songs.
Here is how to do this:
First, write out the names of all the chords from the song. Use the sheet music or tablature and go through the entire tune and list each one once as you go through it. Once you do this, you may be surprised at just how few of them many songs actually have.
Next, create finger diagrams of all the chords that you just wrote out. Once again, remember to write each one just one time no matter how many times it actually gets played.
Now that you have written out all the chords and their fingerings, go through the entire list and determine which ones you already know how to play (if any) and which fingerings you will need to learn or memorize.
After listing out all the chords, now list the changes out in pairs. Go through the entire piece and list each change once—similar to what you did when you listed the chords out individually. Once again, you will most likely find that there are not as many “pairs” in the song as you may have thought.
Finally, go through each pair and determine which ones are the easiest for you to play and which ones give you the most trouble. This is the most critical part of the practice plan for saving the most time and learning the song as quickly as possible. You will want to devote most of your practice time to reviewing, practicing and improving those chord changes which give you the most difficulty. By practicing this way, you are focusing directly on your weaknesses and working to get those difficult changes mastered. This is truly the key to learning complete songs—by taking the parts that were initially difficult for you to play and systematically practicing them and getting them down.
Watch this free guitar song lesson video and a guitar chord and song worksheet that will make this entire process for learning songs simple for you. Watch the video to learn exactly how to do this so that you can quickly memorize and master any piece of music you choose—completely from beginning to end. You’ll feel great when you can play it all the way through and when you are no longer stuck in the same rut that you used to be in (and that most guitar players will ALWAYS be in.)