Music is a great hobby. You should not get frustrated by learning a song.
There are some general tips that can make the learning process more enjoyable and limit the frustration. The purpose of this article is not if you should learn a song from tabs, music notation or by ear. It can be applied to every method.
The goal of the post is simple: to make your music hobby more enjoyable. Just relax and have fun.
1. Accept that you will suck at the begging – it takes off the pressure
Starting with something new with to high expectations can lead to nothing more than frustration. Just accept this fact mentally and make your life easier. Take pride in playing the first notes/chords right. Try not to rush. Be smart and enjoy every small step – just be sure it’s a step in the right direction.
2. Gain more quality practice time by using a timer
I’m sure you are familiar with the following: you spent 2 hours in front of your computer and almost nothing gets done. Spending time does not equal quality and productive time.
How can you trick your mind to focus more on quality? Use a timer. Set it to 20 minutes and make a deal with your brain:
“Hey brain, its Matt. I know you like to rush and distract me all the time. Thats cool. But how about we focus on one task for the next 20 minutes? The timer is going to ring when it’s over, so no presure and dirty tricks here! I promise.”
I will guarantee you that you will make more progress on 20 miuntes effective, quality practice time than with 1 hour of fooling around. And you will have more time left, to spend on other stuff, like jamming for fun (jamming is not highly effective practice – it’s just fun, which is nice) or finally cleaning your band practice room (just kidding).
3. Practice what you can’t do – not what you already know.
This is a no-brainer. Do not play the song from the start, just to get to the hard part. Practice just the hard part. Playing what you already know is more fun – but keep it in mind to not lie to yourself: do you want to make some progress on your limited time or do you want just play the easy riff for the 666th time?
4. Use a metronome to slow things down – it helps with building muscle memory.
There is a great metronome introduction out there:
…and here is a lesson how to practice with it. Again from Justin! The greatest YouTube music teacher out there!
By taking it slow (but right!) you build something that’s called “muscle memory” (is not a memory stored in your muscles, of course). That’s the think that makes you wake up the next day and notice “Hey! This stuff is a lot easier to play than yesterday! Progress! Wohoooo”.
5. Listen to the song A LOT (no shit sherlock)
No-brainer number 2 ladies and gentlemen!
After quality practice time go for a walk. Breath some fresh air and loop the song you are currently learning. I personally tend to enjoy a song more when I can actually play it myself.
6. Mental practice – can be combined with point 5
Can be combined with tip numer 5.
This 4 minute video explains it very well.
7. “Learn them and forget them” – the fun part
Here comes the fun part!
After you learned every note of a song… forget how it “should be played” and have fun with it! No one wants to see robots playing everything the same way: it’s no fun for the listener and especially not for the musician.
Have fun and enjoy your hobby.