Beginners Guide To Practicing Songs

It is common for beginners to make a lot of mistakes, when it comes to practicing songs on guitar. Before you say, “Tell me something I’m not aware of”, let me clarify that I’m not talking about the technical mistakes in your guitar playing.

Guitar being a physically demanding instrument, there are several aspects of guitar technique, required to get your songs to sound clean, and not reveal the struggle you are having with getting them right. This is what troubles most beginner guitar players, and makes them quit after trying for a while.

What you need to understand is that there are some proven and easy to implement methods you can use to improve the speed at which you learn songs, while avoiding the common mistakes that stop beginners from progressing faster on learning and performing songs.

I’m going to list down 5 easy to implement, but highly important song practice guidelines for you here.

If you are making any of the mistakes listed below, then try to incorporate the changes I suggest here and see your song learning and performance  improving much faster

1.    Break Down The Song Into Sections And Analyze

This is the first and most basic mistake that every guitar player is guilty of making. I myself have been prey to this one many times as a beginner.  Don’t look at the song as a big project, instead try and understand what’s happening in the song.

Every song that you try to learn, depending on the selected genre of music, would have some patterns that would be common across many songs. Since this article is for beginners like you, I’ll take the e.g. of Pop genre, because that’s the easiest for beginner guitarists to learn easily.

Every Pop song would typically have a verse, a chorus and a bridge section, with an optional intro and outro. Most of the times, many of these sections are repeated throughout the song several times. How does this work to your advantage?

You don’t need to learn 10 different sections, instead you can learn a couple or 3 sections and can nail the entire song when you put it all together.

A good guitar teacher can help you easily identify and differentiate between song sections.

2.    Learn The Individual Sections & Train On Transitions

Now that you have broken down the song into different sections, and understood the basic structure of the song, you need to work on each individual section in isolation. Once you have a decent level of mastery over the individual section, start training yourself to transition from one section to another.

Once you follow these steps, you’ll be able to master that song much faster than you otherwise could have.

3.    Customize The Song To Your Level

Most beginners make a big mistake of assuming that you have to copy the entire song, exactly as played in the original record.  What you need to understand is that most of the things you are trying to learn from, like internet sheets, TAB etc. may or may not be authentic versions of the original song, unless you are trying to learn a Jazz piece from official sheet music. But considering our same example of the Pop genre, you might be learning from chord charts or TAB on the internet.

You don’t need to replicate the entire song exactly as played in the chart. You can customize the song parts to easy play versions that can be accomplished at your individual playing level. Your guitar teacher would be able to help you scale down the song to your playing level, so that you can have fun with your guitar playing, while you are developing your skills

4.    Use Songs As A Learning Device

Although I did stress the fact that you need scaled down versions on songs to satisfy the musician in you, you still need enough challenge to grow as a guitar player.

Do not always pick up the songs that you can easily play, or songs that are similar to what you have tried and mastered before. Present enough challenge for yourself through songs that require techniques, chords, rhythms, time beyond what you have tried before.

A good guitar teacher will always help you choose the right songs to challenge your playing so that you can develop faster, while having lots of fun learning songs.

5.    Mock Performance

This is crucial and the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to ensure that the work that you put into learning songs can actually bear some fruit. If you are spending hours trying to learn songs, it’s because you want to perform them.

Beginners are generally scared at performing anything, even though they might have already nailed that piece of music during practice sessions.

One way of getting rid of the anxiety and self-doubt is to record your performances, as if you are doing in front of your friends and family. This can be either audio or video recording, and you don’t need to be an expert guitar player to start recording yourself. This will also give you objective feedback on your improvements, and will validate the thought in your mind that you can give a great performance next time.

So there you have it. 5 simple and easy to apply steps that’s guaranteed to make you learn songs faster on guitar and perform them with confidence. Apply these, and you’ll realize that improving your song learning and playing becomes way easier than you thought it would be.

You’ll also find that a really good guitar teacher would always help you accomplish great song learning and performance abilities through various other methods at a beginner level.

So if you find it difficult to implement any of the above steps, then find the right guitar teacher who can help you easily achieve these and many more correct song practice habits.

About The Author:

Dhanesh Sarangadharan is a certified guitar teacher in Pune, Maharashtra India, who helps solving guitar learning problems quickly and helps students progress faster towards their guitar playing ambitions.