Effectively Learning A Challenging Piece Of Music On Guitar

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Memorizing how to play a piece of music (and getting it to sound fluid) has many more benefits than simply not having to remember to lug your sheet music around everywhere you go. But how are you supposed to properly practice this skill?

When learning a piece of music, you will probably want to:

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1 – Keep the time you spend learning the piece of music as short as possible (who would want to take over 4 weeks learning a song when it could be done in a few days?)

2 – Make sure that your performance of the piece sounds as natural and seamless as possible (aka not having to noticeably think about what is coming next)

3 – Learn the piece in a way that you won’t instantly forget it after a week or so of not playing.

There are a few different ways a guitarist or instrumentalist might choose to learn how to play a tune…

  • Many guitarists will repeatedly play the song in its entirety from beginning to the end. This works, but will limit you to only playing shorter, easier songs.

  • Some will choose to divide the tunes into shorter sections, and then learn those sections individually. This generally works better than the first method, but doesn’t work well for really get good at the hard sections.

  • A better strategy that some use is to not only break up the tune in to shorter sections, but also focusing on the more challenging parts of the song. While this does work better, its still not entirely the most efficient and can still leave you sounding as though you are simply playing one line after another.

So how are you to do it then? In the following video you can watch as I walk a student through taking an already memorized piece and making it sound more fluid. We discuss how to practice the tune in the most time effective way possible. And I share some extremely useful tips that I learned while working with professional actors in the theatre industry (when it comes to working hard, we could take a lot of advice from them!)

Now you can start using the cue-to-cue / Q2Q practicing technique for yourself. It is especially useful when you have a bunch of tunes you need to learn in a specific amount of time. You will find that you now save days on your rehearsing (which can be spent learning even more fun new tunes!)

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about music theory for guitar and visit his YouTube channel for more videos

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