One of the first things you will want to accomplish on guitar is learning some songs. There are many reasons for this, but I’m sure if you are a beginner you already want to know the beginner steps to make learning songs on guitar easy. Let’s let look at how we can make this a simple and organized process. Then we can get to playing real music and having more fun.
I would highly recommend writing out a simple list. you can use pen and paper or if you prefer a spreadsheet. You won’t be writing much, but it will be very useful in the future. You will be able to quickly find the information you want on what you have learned.
First write a column for song titles and the name of the artist who song it is. The next column will be called Tempo. This is the speed the song is or how many BPM(beats per minute) the song is. The beat of a song is the most foundational aspect and knowing it will help you understand tempo and rhythm on a deeper level. This will make it much, much easier to learn songs in the future.
The next column will be called Time Signature. This is how many beats are in 1 measure. The most common time signature is 4/4 which is 4 quarter notes per measure. Think of it like 4 quarters in 1 dollar. Most music is in 4/4. This will help you count the beats; 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4, etc.
Next you will want to write down the key of the song. As a beginner you might not know how to figure this out which is fine. This can get filled in later when you learn how to do this. But for now just write in all the chord names you find. This let’s us know what the song contains on a basic level.
The reason we want this to be a list is so that we can quickly find and see all the general important information about a song write away. It will also help us to compare songs and see similarities and differences. Remember that when learning a song or anything for that matter, we aren’t only learning to have fun, we are learning so that it is easier to learn in the future and have a lot more fun for the rest of our lives.
Now that you have some basic information about your song, begin to learn the first section. This could be just the first measure or first couple of measures. When practicing a new song it will be slow and not in rhythm. This will not sound like the song, so don’t get discouraged or worry about how it sounds. Just keep at it until your hands can move quickly enough to play it at the correct speed(tempo) or at least until it starts to sound familiar.
Once you have the first part memorized and it is sounding somewhat like music, add in the next part. Practice the 2nd part by itself until it is memorized and then play both the first and second part in order. It should now sound a little more recognizable.
You would now expect me to tell you to continue this until you are done and that would be fine, but there is another step that is very important. Stop after you have learned a little and recognize that you now know more and can do more than you could before you started. Make sure to do this step and keep doing it after every section is learned. This allows the mind to
keep progress in context. When this step is skipped many beginner or even advanced guitar players get discouraged or overwhelmed and can give up on what they are doing. Giving up never leads to fun. So, let’s keep a clear and rational perspective on our progress and give credit where it is due.
Below is an example of what the list might look like.
About The Author: Ryan Duke is a professional musician, guitar teacher, and owner of Seattle Guitar Mentor providing Seattle Guitar Lessons in Seattle, WA