Photo by rolands.lakis
I know it is easier said than done to learn a song in one week, but it is quite possible. Of course you have to take one thing into account:
You have to choose a song that fits your capabilities. The song you are able to learn depends on whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced guitar player and the amount of time you can afford to practice.
A beginner could learn a basic pop / rock song in one week, while an intermediate or advanced guitar player could figure out a more advanced piece of music, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make.
With all the busy schedules nowadays it’s hard to still find any time or motivation left to learn your favorite guitar song within an reasonable amount of time. Assuming you are a hard working male or female working from 9 to 5 or a college student role model you need a good practical way to get the job done.
Let’s see take a look how to approach this in seven days:
It’s the first day of the week. You come home from work or school a little tired but you’re okay. You really want to nail this song, but you don’t want to drown it. Well let’s get this party started. In order not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task you take small steps. Small steps will get your goal accomplished.
- Choose a song you like. (Ask your guitar teacher or guitar buddy if it is a reasonable challenge)
- Analyze the song structure. Find out if the song has a verse, a prechorus, chorus, a bridge, etc.
Let’s assume you have the following song structure: Intro – verse – prechorus – chorus – verse – prechorus – chorus – bridge – chorus – outro.
- Today you will start to learn the Intro. Nothing more and nothing less. Don’t work ahead but fully focus on the intro.
- Play it slow a few times and then gradually build up the speed. Playing things slowly and properly is really important. Don’t skip this part. It is essential.
- Analyze your barriers and mistakes. Where does it get tough? Where do you go wrong? Look at the way you put your fingers on the strings. Are you placing them correctly? Figure out a way to get the right sound. Experiment. Observe your left hand as well as your right hand.
- If you tried hard enough let it rest for a while. Forget about the details for a moment and carry on. Enjoy your practice session, have fun and finish the rest of the intro.
- Learn it by heart right away. It’s the best way to master the song.
It’s your second day of work / school and you probably need to do some errands and chores. Finish them as quick as possible and try to simplify your tasks if possible. Now regain your energy, drink a glass of water to refresh and let’s take a few minutes to concentrate on the second part of the song: The Verse.
- Go to a room where you will not be distracted. Turn off your mobile phone, TV and Internet connection.
Ask your family to give you some room to breath for a few minutes.
- Learn the chords.
- Play the chord progression.
- Figure out the added licks. (via tabs or transcribe by ear)
- Memorize the complete verse.
- Remember first play things slowly until you get the hang of it and then play at normal speed.
- Treat chords, chord progressions and licks separately, figure out the hard parts, pay attention to little details and then finally put it all together. If it’s not perfect yet, don’t sweat it.
- Play the the whole thing from the top and give it your best. Reward yourself for today’s practice.
You’re half way through the week. A great day to celebrate with the Prechorus. Feel the excitement of accomplishing your goal. Commit yourself to learning this beautiful piece of music. You must be tired but try not to think about it too much. Tell yourself it’ll only take a few minutes. Just see how much time you want to spend while you are at it. It’s only a prechorus. It’s easy. You can do it.
- Stop thinking….. Stop thinking.
- Take your guitar out the of the stand.
- Start practicing. Be a winner!
It’s time to practice the Chorus, usually the most fun and recognizable part of the song. You are already more than halfway through the song by now.
- Listen to the original song for a minute.
- Focus on listening to the guitar player in particular.
- Listen to the rhythm, the melody, the phrasing and the sound of the licks. Take it all in.
- Take your guitar and try to copy little pieces and elements of what you just heard.
- Play the song from the top starting with the Intro, verse, prechorus and then the chorus.
- Pretend your in front of a real live audience. Give it your best. You’ve done a great job so far!
It’s your last work or school day of the week. You are probably exhausted, but that won’t stop you from doing what you love most. This is your thing! Give it what you got, even if it’s only a few minutes. Be proud of your consistency. You are creating yourself a great habit.
- Get yourself together, sit straight, breath slow and relax.
- Practice the Bridge of the song.
- Go through it a couple of times in different tempos and memorize it.
It’s weekend. A perfect time to complete the song. You only got the Outro left to practice.
- Take your time until you get it right.
- Practice the previous parts of the song. Refresh your memory.
- Correct little mistakes and polish it wherever you can.
- Play the whole song from beginning to end.
- Learn the entire song by heart.
Things that are not so perfect will come in time. Don’t worry about it. Just keep practicing. Enjoy the song for what is has become. The most important thing is that you have improved and you will keep on improving.
Play the song one or two times. This time not only try to play it technically right but put your whole heart in it. Feel the song.
Your repertoire is one song richer. Musicianship is all about building a repertoire. Step by step. One song at a time.
You are on your way!
Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will. ~ Vernon Howard