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5 Tips for Learning Songs

Learning riffs and solos are fun, but putting them all together in a song is where the real fun starts.

Learning riffs and solos are fun, but you don't want to get to the point where you know intros to 10 different songs but can't play one all the way through. Putting it all together and playing songs is where the real fun starts!

Here are five tips that will help you learn songs fast:

1. Find a Good Recording

Having a recording lets you know what the song is supposed to sound like, provides inspiration, and gives you something to imitate. Use it as a goal for where you're going.

2. Keep It on Repeat

Put the recording on your phone or in your car. Listen to it whenever you get a chance in order to internalize the sound and structure.

3. Divide and Conquer

The best way to learn a full song is to break it into small pieces. Think about assembling a stain-glassed window. Each individual part comes together to form one larger piece of art. Focus on just the intro until you get it right, then move onto another part, like memorizing the chord progression of the chorus. Once you have all the pieces worked out and polished, then it's time to put it all together.

4. Use Cheat Sheets

The ultimate goal should be to be able to play the whole thing from memory, but don't be afraid to use some notes or a cheat sheet to help get through it the first few times.

5. Record yourself

Any smartphone should have a record/voice memo function for recording sound. Recording your playing helps you notice things that you might not otherwise hear while playing. Listen back carefully to see if there are any sticking points or parts that need extra work.

Chances are you didn't pick up the guitar to just play a few riffs and chords. You wanted to learn how to play songs. These tips will help you start playing through your favorites in no time.