If you are like me, learning new repertoire can sometimes be difficult. Whether you have a lack of energy or you’re not in the right mindset, sitting down to learn new music can seem like a big task. I’ve found that my number one reason for procrastinating is by telling myself that I don’t have the time because I have other “more important” things that also need to get done.
There are times that I need to learn 20+ songs in a week due to Listen & Learn classes starting back up, coupled with requests made by students and clients. I used to struggle with this greatly. There are so many songs to learn in what feels like such a short period of time. To try and combat this “lack of time”, I have figured out a routine that works well for me to learn new music quickly and efficiently.
Step 1: Listen to the Music in Your Spare Time
Listening to recordings of the songs you need to learn is a bit of a no-brainer. However, you don’t need to necessarily make the time to sit down and do nothing else but listen to this music. I have found that using my time in the car in between sessions is a great place to start listening. I have to drive anyway; I might as well multitask and listen to the new material!
Step 2: Play Guitar Along with the Recording
Obviously don’t do this one in the car, please! As you continue to learn the melody by singing along to the recordings, find some time to sit down and add the guitar to it. Singing and strumming along with the recording has been the most effective way for me to learn new material.
Step 3: Just Do It!
Even if you are still feeling a bit unsure after a few times of playing along with the recording, try to do it by yourself. You will be surprised with how much you remember!
I find that learning the melody to a song is the most difficult, especially when you just have a lead sheet of lyrics and chords. Remember that the melody line often follows the direction of the chord progression. If you are completely unsure while doing the song live, just pick a note in the chord and roll with it! Then, go back in your spare time to fix it.
Learning new repertoire is difficult! These are the steps that have helped me be successful. How do you learn your repertoire quickly and efficiently?