How I Learnt 22 Songs In Under A Week…

Picture yourself in this situation. You get a phone call from of a band asking you to join them. You love the music they play, you know you’ll get on with the people in the band…

…there’s just one catch. This phone call is happening on Monday, and your first gig is Friday evening on the same week. 

In just 5 days…

And I’ve got to learn 22 songs in that time. 

I imagine one thing you might be thinking is “How is anyone supposed to be able to learn that many songs in that time?”

I was in this situation 3 years ago, thinking the exact same thing. I honestly had no idea how I was going to pull it off.

(Just a disclaimer, to be able to achieve this, you do have to be able to have the skills to play all the songs, and not just bedroom standard but performance level. Which is a different story altogether)

I’m going to share with you some strategies I used (and still use) to be able to learn songs faster. What’s nice is that both of them don’t require you to be at your guitar!

  1. 1. Visualise yourself playing parts of the song

When doing this, of course it helps to know what the guitar parts are before hand. I’m not expecting you to figure out how to play the song by listening to it. 

This exercise is for once you have practised and know your parts pretty well. You can practice imagining yourself playing the song while just listening to it. 

This works because your brain can’t tell the difference between imagined mental practice and physical practice. 

And this is a great exercise to do because you are do it nearly all the time! While you are cooking, taking a shower, on the commute to work. There are lots of opportunities for you to be visualising your guitar parts. 

Try to make it as real as possible, and even how you are standing on stage and what you are doing too. 

  1. 2. Listen to the song… a lot

This only works if you do what is known as ‘active listening’. By that I mean that you’re paying attention to a specific detail of the song. The best ones to pay attention to are the structure and the lyrics. 

Try to write out the lyrics from the top of your head and see how the structure of the song repeats. If it is an instrumental piece, then look at how structures in the song repeats. There might even be the same phrases or licks but at a different pitch. 

These things are easier to spot if you have the score version of the songs as well. 

These two tips are some simple but very overlooked tips that’s going to help you learn songs very quickly. If you would like to know how to learn songs easily and achieve more with your guitar playing, then get in touch with us. 

At our guitar school in London, England, Guitar Tuition East London, we have a different philosophy to teaching guitar that focuses on fun and musicianship, if that’s the type of guitar lessons that you would enjoy, whether you are a beginner guitar player or experienced performer. Get in touch, we might surprise you.