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Your routine for learning a new song?

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(@globetro)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 75
Topic starter  

Was wondering what your routine is for learning a new song? The way I've been going about it is to break the song down into sections (ie: intro, verse, chorus, solo, etc), and then I work on one section until I can play it at the right BPM before I move on to the next section.

I'm wondering if this is the best way to go about it, or if it'd be better to alternate working on each section and slowly bringing each section up to speed at the same time. Like, start off at 60bpm for all sections. Then work on intro until I get it to 70bpm, then move onto verse and get it up to 70bpm, etc... and then repeat to get all sections up to 80bpm etc... until I get it to the target BPM.


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

I divide them up, learn each piece seperately at a very low BPM. Then I put it together and slowly increase tempo while always playing the entire song.


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I chuck it on the music stand and play it chunk by chunk from sight time after time after time until I can play it at full speed all the way through fromsight. Then I try and stop looking at the music.

Classical pieces tend to get chucked on the music stand and played all the way through time after time after etc.....

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Breaking it up into small chunks seems to be everyone's favourite method, myself included. Once I've got it down to my satisfaction, I always try and strum along with the CD - that helps with the timing, and to smooth out any wrinkles. Some people would say slavishly learning a song parrot-fashion isn't real musicianship, but hell, once you know a song really well, you can always tweak it and mess around with it later if youu want to put your own spin on it!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@globetro)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 75
Topic starter  

Cool, thanks, yeah, I guess it would make more sense to get all the sections up to speed in parallel, instead of trying to get one section perfect before trying the next.


   
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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

I do the chunks thing to but I learn what I feel are the hardest parts first and when I feel comfortable with them then I learn the easier parts.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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(@chuckster)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 938
 

Chunks works for me too. Also once I've got two or more chunks weighed off I will take the end of one chunk and the start of the next one and concentrate on the transition from one chunk to another so the whole thing hopefully will seem seemless when played together.

Not that I've been working on songs much lately. I'm giving technique and improvising a hammering.

8)

I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.


   
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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

I do something similar, but I also "watch" the song being played in Guitar Pro or Powertab several times when available. Helps me to see how it's supposed to be played.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

I do it in chunks like everyone else, but I also make a point to put the original on my MP3 player so I can dissect the song on the way to and from work.

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

I guess it depends on the source I'm learning from - by ear, by notes, or tab.

By ear I listen and try to define sections: intro, verse, bridge, chorus, outro, whatever. And as I listen, I think "What's this like?"... it's amazing how a part of one song is nearly identical to another. If you can listen to La Bamba, and hear the changes of Good Loving in it, you can nail the tune very quickly.

From sheet music, I put a pencil on the music stand. Then I start at the beginning and play through it twice - I'll note any areas that gave me problems either time. The rest of the tune, the parts I played perfectly well twice in a row with no preparaton - well, they don't need any practice time. All I need to do is memorize them.

Then I start working on the parts I had trouble with. There's probably a different way to finger that passage, and once I find it and learn it, I move on to the next problem spot. Only after a piece presents no technical hurdles will I work on memorizing it - knowing half a tune isn't much good.

From tab I'll listen to a recording and note the rhythm. Then I'll follow the same basic steps.

When I go to memorize a piece, I'll learn the most memorable part first. Sometimes that's a riff, sometimes it's the intro, most of the times it's a chorus. After that I usually go straight through from the beginning.

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